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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

9.4 million reasons the Steelers won't tag Wallace

There has been some supposition that the Steelers will simply slap the franchise tag on wide receiver Mike Wallace rather than risk losing him as a restricted free agent.
Teams can begin placing the franchise tag on players Feb. 20.
Here are the franchise numbers for 2012:

Quarterback $16.1 million
Running Back $7.7 million
Wide Receiver $9.4 million
Tight End $5.4 million
Offensive Line $9.4 million
Defensive End $10.6 million
Defensive Tackle $7.9 million
Linebacker $8.8 million
Cornerback $10.6 million
Safety $6.2 million

As you can see, the cost to franchise Wallace would be $9.4 million, much too much for the salary cap-strapped Steelers to add to their cap.

But remember, the free agent market at many positions - including wide receiver - is ridiculously deep this year.

In other words, why give up a first-round draft pick to sign Wallace when you can sign DeSean Jackson, Wes Welker, Stevie Johnson, Dwayne Bowe or Marques Colston instead?


adamg said...

Reportedly Philly will put the franchise tag on Jackson.

If you have an extra 1st round choice like NE, Wallace might come cheaper via offer sheet than any of the top UFA WRs.

Steve-O said...

Aside from the first round draft choice that New England would give up, they would also have to pay a very hefty salary. Wallace is good but that's a steep price to pay for a wide receiver. Given their outstanding wide receivers and tight ends (when healthy) the Patriots have far greater needs in other areas. They'll take a pass on Wallace.

adamg said...

While NE might not sign Wallace, they need a deep threat. It's why their offense sputtered at times. Their passing game was one completely one dimensional with no true vertical threat to make defenses back off the short passing game.

Dan said...

I'm beginning to think that Wallace is little more than a faster version of Nate Washington. Wallace never fights for the ball, and I think he's partially to blame for Ben's regression last year- Ben was too busy trying to force it to Wallace deep instead of taking the shorter, but better, option.

I'd gladly take a 1st rounder for Wallace.

emac2 said...

The draft is deep at WR as well but how many of the available guys have Mike Wallace speed?

Teams will pay dearly for that "final piece" and if that piece happens to be a WR with Speed would you really take someone other then Wallace just because it also costs a low 1st rounder?

I think Houston and NE would sign him and give up the pick without hesitation and bet the niners would give it a lot of thought.

He's a rare player even with his shortcomings and with his age and having proven himself in the league there is no way he stays if we expose him.

emac2 said...

He's also not a finished product and the fact that he was so angry leaves me comfortable that he will focus that on improving his game this summer.

As for blaming Wallace for Ben losing his self control? That's just silly.

Robert K said...

My only fear in putting the 1st round tender on Wallce is that a team with a low first round pick, like NE at 31st would sign him. Thats a really low value 1st round pick for a proven player.

kelly said...

Let's keep in mind that the Steelers get a chance to match any offer Wallace may receive. It's not like another team just grabs him for a 1st rounder.

adamg said...

Colbert said NFL GMs really, really, really loathe giving up draft choices so he isn't too worried someone will offer Wallace, fwiw.

Haley seems to have had a lot of success developing WRs, too. I'm sure Wallace will benefit from that.

BR apparently played with a right shoulder injury toward the end of the season. That would explain his passing falloff and is another good reason to diversify the offense from improvisational long bombs and off balance throws.

DD said...

This is very simple. You definitely place the highest tender offer on him and take the 1st rounder with open arms you receive (even if it is #31)assuming he is signed. Wallace is not first round talent by himself. He is fast and can get behind the D no doubt. But BR has below avg accuracy on deep balls. There is no denying that. And since Wallace does not have the ability to go up and get a ball, he really is not that valuable to this team. Getting the best NT in the draft with the 31st pick is much more important IMO.

marc said...

wallace is not going anywhere. no one is going to give up a first rounder for him. he proved he still is not a complete receiver. look at it this way, who is going to give up a first round pick for the #2 WR on another team?

also, should the steelers look at bringing in peyton hillis? yes, he's a former brown, but he's a beast and can catch out of the backfield and they can probably get him pretty cheap.

just a thought.

Dale Lolley said...

"But BR has below avg accuracy on deep balls. There is no denying that."

I'm denying it. That's silly. Below average? Come on. Judge him by how he throws that ball in September and October - or indoors - not based on November and December.

Anonymous said...

Dale what do u mean by this:

"In other words, why give up a first-round draft pick to sign Wallace when you can sign DeSean Jackson, Wes Welker, Stevie Johnson, Dwayne Bowe or Marques Colston instead?"

Wallace is better than all those listed

Mark said...

@Anon: I think Dale's point is that Wallace may not be better than a 1st round pick PLUS one of the receivers he mentioned. (That's assuming the Steelers put the 1st round tender on Wallace.)

@DD: "There is no denying that." I keep thinking about the 58 yard pass versus the Ravens in last year's playoffs. When Ben launches the ball, Brown is still behind two Raven's defenders at the 40 yard line. Ben throws it perfectly, just in front of Brown at the 15 yard line, and where neither defender has a chance at the ball. (Not saying he does this on every deep ball, but there is a reason for "denying".)

marc said...

i don't think it is a slam dunk that wallace is better than jackson, welker or colston. an arguement could be made for each of them, imo.

alexrkirby said...

I'll back up the opinion that Ben throws a horrible deep ball. Ben and Wallace probably left 3 or 4 TD's on the field because or bad deep balls. He seems to especially like to underthrow passes. I often see guys having to come back for balls.

Now his short and intermediate accuracy is great but his long bombs are terrible.

Dale Lolley said...

We will have to disagree on that. How many of his long passes are thrown on the move or with a guy in his face?
He is definitely not "below average" in that respect. I see it in practice when there's no pass rush. He's usually on the money.

As for the receivers mentioned, that is correct, that Wallace is not worth the big contract AND a first rounder when there are others available.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious Dale, what would you offer Wallace contract-wise? I'm really not too sure what he's worth at this point.

adamg said...

BR's passes seem to have had less zip the past couple years. Just my observation, but to me he looks like a baseball pitcher getting a tired/dead arm or one with elbow, shoulder problems or both.

Anonymous said...

To say that Mike Wallace is better than Wes Welker is absolutely laughable.

Faster? Yeah. Better? No way. Not at this point, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Better than Welker?

At playing the slot? No. As an outside receiver? Oh hell yes. Welker on the outside, where his agility is less of an asset, loses an enormous amount of effectiveness. We all saw how Ike took Welker off the board for NE when we played them.

They're playing two different positions almost.

Tim said...

Ben has been well below average in long distance accuracy his entire career. He prefers the underthrow, but once in a while he'll overcompensate and go with the overthrow. But then again, I am only going by games, not practices, and those really do need to be factored in here. We also should not be factoring in the final 60% of the season, or other players on the field, such as defenders. Jeez, and here is a list of touchdowns this year during which Jonathan Scott was on the field...

He stinks at it, and I didn't know it was debatable until just now. Every time he throws a good deep ball I am genuinely surprised. I'm not saying it never happens, I'm saying it happens way less often than it should. Seems like every pass over 30 yards, our receiver has to radically change directions one way or another. If I had to pick one guy on the team to throw one deep ball, I'd take Leftwich in a heartbeat.

I knew he'd have trouble with Wallace when we drafted him. The two of them should have spent an additional 30-60 minutes a day working on bombs. People talk about Wallace like he just disappeared the second half of the year, but he was still burning defenses every single week. He ran right by Champ Bailey like it was nothing, and Ben threw it out of bounds, and Champ celebrated... If Ben and Mike were even half the team that Manning and Harrison were on those fade routes, they'd be unstoppable. He can and will get open. It's so frustrating to not be able to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

" Robert K said...

My only fear in putting the 1st round tender on Wallce is that a team with a low first round pick, like NE at 31st would sign him. Thats a really low value 1st round pick for a proven player."

You obviously forgot that Wallace was a third round pick. Therefore, receiving a low first round pick as compensation is excellent value, especially in a draft as deep at W.R. as this upcoming draft will be.

As for those of you that think Ben can't throw an accurate deep ball, please. None of you have taken into consideration the number of injuries he dealt with this past season. They include a sprained foot, a broken thumb, a high ankle sprain and a shoulder injury. I can assure you that if Brady, Brees, and Rogers had to deal with the same injuries their games would suffer too. I'll go so far as to say that I highly doubt any of them would have played as many games as Ben did with those injuries. The main issue I've had with Ben is his lack of physical conditioning. By the looks of him, he needs to include weight training to his workout regimen in order to increase his power and strength, especially in his abs, arms and shoulders.

marc said...

agree with you on BR's physical conditioning.

however, who is to say those other 3 QB's did not have playable injuries as well that just weren't as publicized? not to mention BR should have sat at least one more game due to his ankle.

additionally, i don't really care how great BR's long balls are in practice, it doesn't matter one bit on the score board. it matters in the game, and in the games he under throws the long ball the majority of the time.

if you happended to see the pro bowl, he under threw marshall as well on one of his TD catches. guy was wide open by 5-10 yards and BR still under threw him.

steelcan said...

Hey adamg do you EVER have something good to say about the Steelers? (You know the team that has been to 3 super bowls, and won 2 in recent years). Maybe you should go back to your favorite teams board (Rats, stains or wherever)Jeez.

Anonymous said...

Ask any team who they would sign to a long term deal right now, Welker or Wallace

Atleast 25 teams would take Wallace.

adamg said...

Hey, steelclan, you do know that BR just said in the recent story about how motivated he is, that he has a bad shoulder, right? You also know he's complained in the past of a sore elbow, right?
He sure has looked like a qb with a sore/tired arm the past few years to me. I'm sure this has been brought on not only by the number of passes he throws, but also that he often throws off-balance, off the wrong foot, etc. This can't be good for his arm/shoulder.

marc said...

you can argue whether his arm/shoulder is having problems all you want...fact remains he cannot sustain a high level of play if he continues to take a beating. his style of play must change at least some to avoid the injuries, become a more consistent contributer, and prolong his career as an above-average/excellent QB.

if he does not change/adapt his style of play, he will become less and less effective and his career will be shortened.

don't believe me? look at all QB's of his mold and tell me how many have realized long and very productive careers. there is only one...favre.

ibygeorge said...

Okay great, BR is accurate on the deep throws when he is healthy. Why does he think he can be just as accurate with a bum shoulder, sprained ankle, broken thumb,........

Tim said...

I never said he couldn't throw an accurate deep ball, I said he can't do it consistently compared to other quarterbacks. He's just not good at it. And I didn't say anything about this year. He's never been good at it, injured or not.

Dale Lolley said...

Again, what QBs are you comparing Roethlisberger to?
Seriously, below average would suggest that he's worse at it than at least 16 quarterbacks in the league. So you're telling me that there are 16 QBs in this league that throw a better deep ball when there truly aren't 16 good QBs in the league.
Is he the best at it? No. But to say he's below average is just plain wrong.
It's hard to throw a deep ball in a game when you're trying to keep an eye on which player is going to beat Kemoeatu and smack you in the face.

marc said...

Dale, I will put it another way. BR does not throw a good enough deep ball when compared to other QB's of supposedly similar talent level. When considering the group of QB's he gets compared with each year, he may be the worst at throwing the ball deep, imo.

Anonymous said...

The deep ball is a low percentage play. I think their inability to establish the run and their unwillingness to throw underneath on a regular basis skews this as well. Ben isn't Brady or Manning, never will be. Better play calling and a more consistent effort to set up the deep ball will help Ben in the long run. Some talent on the line won't hurt either.

Anonymous said...

"Ask any team who they would sign to a long term deal right now, Welker or Wallace

Atleast 25 teams would take Wallace."

And almost all of them would be doing because of age, not ability.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. I bet most teams would also take Wallace over Welker for just next season

Wallace under-appreciation around here is laughable

marc said...

maybe if wallace actually jumped and caught a ball he would be more appreciated.

Tim said...

If Ben is actually getting hit while throwing by some guy that beat Kemo, he obviously gets a pass, so to speak. But NOT being paranoid about the pass rush and throwing a good ball anyway is part of the job. All the poor throws I'm talking about are the ones where he is totally clean, in or out of the pocket, and just can't connect. You don't get to say, "No, he's actually good at it, just not when he's in the game because he's worried about his line." I'm not talking about his mechanics or ability, I'm talking about his performance. If he's got protection on any given play, he needs to make a good throw, or at least a decent one where Wallace doesn't have to do a 180.

Deep balls are a low percentage play, but that percentage skyrockets when your wide receiver is WIDE OPEN. And our receivers get wide open deep regularly. We should be getting one or two long bomb touchdowns every game, and it just doesn't happen largely due to the throws. And people around here dump on Wallace for not coming back to a ball, jumping over a defender and making the catch, like that's his job. I believe he does his best at it, but he's not Andre Johnson. He's much better than Johnson and everyone else at one thing though: getting open deep. And so many want to ship him out because our QB can't take advantage.

I'm fairly sure there are at least 30 guards better than Kemoeatu, but I don't know enough about every single one to rank them ahead of him for certain. But after 20 years of studying football, I know a terrible guard when I sees one. Same for Ben's deep balls, and I've been saying this since 2004. He's simply not good at it in games. When he was young, I figured he'd improve, and it wasn't such a big deal since we didn't have the weapons to work with anyway, and we were all so stoked to have a franchise QB. Now, it looks like that that improvement may not happen, and it's frustrating. As far as I'm concerned, missing a wide open receiver when you have no real excuse like being hit while thrown is almost as bad as a drop. And his blown opportunities outweigh his completed bombs by way too much.

That said, I could still easily name at least 8-10 QBs that can throw a better deep ball than him (Rodgers, Manning, Manning, Brady, Brees, Smith, Romo, Schaub, Stafford...) but there are plenty of others that I simply have no idea about. Matt Ryan? I actually don't see that many Atlanta games. Does John Skelton throw a good deep ball? I have no idea, I've only seen the guy play like one game. Does it sound ridiculous comparing him to Roethlisberger? I guess it could, but I definitely would rank Leftwich ahead of Ben in this category, and how many people would do that? There's no telling how many QBs out there that we don't get to see play could throw a better ball to Wallace. But I don't need to know every player to evaluate one player. I can look at Ben and Ben only and say that he is really strong and tough to bring down. I can look at Kemoeatu and say he just sucks. Same with David Johnson and Jonathan Scott. I can look at Troy Polamalu and say he's amazing, even without examining every other SS in the game. And I can look at Ben and say his deep accuracy is just not good enough.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise, Steeler fans whining and complaining. I bet most of you love that crappy site. Blah blah blah. Ben doesn't do this. Ben doesn't do that. Ben can't throw the deep ball. Ben holds on to the ball too long. Ben doesn't use checkdowns. Ben attacks wo... Oops.

Plain and simple, Ben WINS. He wins. He's won two superbowls, he's won tons of games. Get over it. And sure, bring on the whole 'He didn't even show up in that first superbowl' crap. Completely ignore the 19 games leading up to that one like you usually do so that you can sit there on your fat ass and talk about you know so much because you checked the 'film'. You people need to get a freaking life and realize that this is a GAME. Stop investing so much of your time and life into it. ENJOY it, enjoy being a fan of the winningest team in the Superbowl era. FFS.