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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Market for Wallace being set

There as a flurry on wide receivers getting new contracts on Tuesday as the free agent period began in the NFL.

But none of the receivers signing deals was named Mike Wallace.

That doesn't mean, however, that it wasn't a big day for Wallace, as the market was set for a receiver of his skills.

Let's take a look at some of the deals that were completed.

Vincent Jackson, who is one strike short of getting a year's suspension, signed a five-year $55 million contract with Tampa Bay.

Washington went crazy - there's a shock - and gave Pierre Garçon $42.5 million for five years and Josh Morgan essentially $6 million per year.

Robert Meachem(!) got $25.9 million for four years from San Diego to replace Jackson.

And just before the free agency period began, New Orleans re-signed Marques Colston to a five-year, $40-million deal.

That's some crazy money being thrown around for a group of receivers, many of whom aren't in Wallace's class.

So what will this mean for the Steelers?

That $9.4 million figure it would have cost them to place the franchise tag on Wallace might have been a bargain.

Then again, with so many teams dipping their toes into the receiver waters, there aren't a lot of teams out there still looking for receivers.

And, as I've said all along, it's one thing to sign a receiver to a big deal. It's another to do so AND give up a first-round pick, which is what a team would have to do to pry Wallace away from the Steelers.

The question is, however, can the Steelers afford to sign Wallace to a long-term deal?

The answer, at least right now, is no. But the salary cap will be increasing in 2013, which is good news considering Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are going to reach their restricted free agent year following the 2012 season.


Robbie said...

You previously said you thought the Steelers would sign Wallace before training camp. Do you now think they'll just let him play in 2012 under the $2.7 million tender?

Assuming no team signs him to an offer sheet, I wonder if Wallace would agree to a "hometown discount" Colston-level contract (5 years, $40 million, $20 million guaranteed)?

In other words, would he take the $20 million guaranteed now or would he rather face the prospect of playing for $2.7 million in 2012 and getting franchise tagged for around $10 million in 2013 just so he can become a UFA in 2014 and chase the VJax-level big money?

marc said...

personally, i believe vincent jackson is a better all around WR than wallace. with that said:

Jackson $11 mill. / yr.
Garcon $8.5 mill. / yr.
Colston $8 mill. / yr.
Meachem $6.5 mill. / yr.

i think wallace will shoot for jackson type money right now and then fall back on the steelers at roughly $9.5 million per year. i don't see any other team that will shell out $10-$11 million per year AND a 1st round pick. just too much.

adamg said...

I believe the PG had a blog entry from someone that said the Steelers have signed exactly 1 wr to multiple long term deals - Hines Ward - rather than allow them to go to free agency over the past decade or so.

Wallace left enough question marks with his second half disappearing act that there's no rush to sign him to a big $ deal right now.

Anonymous said...

Sure they can. They can give him a $10m signing bonus this year, minimum salary, and some form of guaranteed money next year, and it accomplishes 3 things. It would be very competitive with current market value. And it would give Wallace more money year one than he would get under the franchise tag. And it would allow Wallace to hit the books this season at about his current RFA tender cap fig (assuming a 5 year deal). IMO, that's both fair and doable.

emac2 said...

One thing is clear and that is that we cannot keep Wallace, Brown and Sanders after this year.

What I think gets lost by people is that Wallace has a skill that you just don't find very often. He also not only has that skill but is top of the class.

Is he really the one you let go?

I'm pretty confident he wants top dollar and that he and the team know that he simply isn't long for this uniform because that doesn't fit the Steelers business model but I'm worried we are going to miss him even more then I fear. It's hard for me to imagine how bad our rushing offense will be if we end up with another guy in the box every down because there is no one to keep the safety honest.

emac2 said...

As for Jackson being at 11 per...

It's a 2 year 26 mil guarantee with extra years for cap reasons.

That means 2 at 13 each is the real comparable.

Mikes not signing at 9 or 9.4

keevin said...

Steelers hold the advantage in negotiations because they could just keep him at 2.7 million this year then franchise him next year

I'd offer 6 years for 57 million

Anonymous said...


What is the deadline than some team can can submit an offer sheet to him.It has to be before the draft but how far before?

marc said...

you seem to understand the contract specifics better than i. however, if what you said is the case, name me one team that will guarantee wallace $11+ million the first two years AND a first round pick. i just don't think it's gonna happen.

maybe wallace won't sign a long term deal this year and hope for a massive contract next season when the cap bumps up more. but then he risks being franchise tagged by the steelers that year and will effectively lose out on 2 free agency periods of cashing in on a very large contract. in a sport rife with injuries, i don't think that's a prudent course of action.

he's signing a long term deal this year with someone. i think the most likely team will be the steelers.

Dale Lolley said...

I think the Steelers will try to sign Wallace before camp.
The key is that they won't upset the apple cart in the locker room. In other words, they won't pay him more than Ben Roethlisberger or Troy Polamalu. I believe - working off memory - that Roethlisberger's real cap number is $12 or so million this year, while Polamalu is $10 or a little over.
Now, the Steelers could dress the deal up a little to help Wallace save face with workout bonuses and such. But they aren't going to have the package for more than what Roethlisberger or Polamalu make. Just the way they do business.

emac2 said...

My bet would be that he refuses to accept a penny less then 10 per though I wouldn't bet against the idea that he wants a statement contract.

I wouldn't be surprised if he prefers to play out this year so he can get the monster deal. It isn't like he's going hungry.

As far as who pays him the big money? A smart club that realizes that with the huge cap increase and new CBA limitations on draft compensation would be smart to lock up a young superstar before that adjustment is fully reflected in prices. Maybe a team that needs a WR and isn't impressed with the draft options or wants a sure thing that is ready to start day one instead of a hit or miss guy who takes a year to be effective.

Anonymous said...

Let him play out the 2.7 mil this year and if he is the MW of the first 8 games franchise him and work out a deal. If he turns out to be the MW of the second 8 games and AB continues to have the better season, then you know where to put the money. MW dissapearing act has me very concerned.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone whining about MW disappearing in the second half of the season?

Thats not what happened.

Teams double teamed him and left others wide open

Ben said...

What happened yesterday only goes some way to setting the market. Any player who actually gets to full unrestricted free agency has much higher vaule than players who are extended a year or more before they hit unrestricted free agency. It's why the Steelers typically get their extensions done before the final years of players deals, they're able to keep their players for less money. Players usually take the extra job security (remember you're only 1 bad tackle away from spending the next season rehabbing and the following one playign for vet minimum on an incentive laden deal) over more money. Not all for sure, some are blinded by the dollar signs or just want to get away from the team they're currently with. So I would think what Colston was given is more reflective of Wallace's worth, and I'm not sure I'd go that high, because Colston was what? hours away from unrestricted free agency.

But there's many reasons for Wallace's "disappearing act" one of them is for sure, teams started to key on him defensively, keeping the safety deep, and that is a big reason for Brown's emergence. Secondly we went to a shorter passing game as well because Ben was banged up and the line was struggling to protect him long enough to get the deep game going regularly. Haven't looked at the stats but I'm sure you'll find Wallace's targets plummetted as well as his production.

Anonymous said...

Wallace is restricted. He is facing playing two seasons on one year contracts ($2.7m this season, and the franchise tender next season). We have leverage. We just need to use it.

It doesn't matter what Vincent Jackson got ... what matters is how much it will take to get Wallace to sign a multi year contract rather than playing for those two one year deals.

Henigin said...

Ben (commenter here, not QB) has it exactly right. Wallace's $ value is less because he has less leverage - he's not an unrestricted free agent, so he really has limited ability to have others compete to sign him.

DeSean Jackson just signed a 5yr/$47M deal while being restricted under the franchise tag, so as long as everyone is acting rationally on both sides, his deal should come in noticeably under that, because Wallace's guaranteed $ for 2012 is $2.7M, while DeSean Jackson's was $9.4M, a much higher starting point. Both Colston's and Garcon's contracts are in about the right neighborhood for what Wallace can reasonably expect if he signs a contract with the Steelers before the upcoming season, IMO.

Viktor said...

Since teams are unlikely to give up their first rounder would the Steelers be willing to accept two 2nd round picks in this year's draft for Wallace? (is this even a possible option?)

Dan said...

"Why is everyone whining about MW disappearing in the second half of the season?

Thats not what happened.

Teams double teamed him and left others wide open"

Wallace demonstrated a disturbing unwillingness to fight for the ball.

Wallace can run fast in a straight line. So could Nate Washington. Is that worth $10 million+ per year?

Let's see how Manny Sanders and Antonio Brown pan out next year. They might make Wallace expendable.

marc said...

imo, there is one very good reason why wallace does not deserve top dollar. the elite WR's can still get open or pull down the ball when double teamed. wallace cannot, at this point in his career.

as proof, as we all know, the second half of the season was subpar due to the coverage over the top. so, therefore, where are the deep digs in/out? where are the double moves? where is the fight for the jump ball? he doesn't have it yet.

kelly said...

Let's also keep in mind, Wallace fading in the 2nd half of the year could have had a lot to do with the plays Arians was calling. IMO he was the king of, "Hey, there's a brick wall, I'm going to bang my head against it."

Lance said...

Elite WR's get open double teamed or not. Wallace was handled with the double team because he can not go get the ball from a safety/corner, he just is'nt big enough and I agree that he does not fight for the ball. I will hold out judgement until after this season.

Speaking of WR's, The Jets are interested in bringing back Cotchery. I hope he stays, but I am not too worried about losing our #4.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I hope we keep them both around for as long as possible, but it's not like Brown should hand his team MVP trophy over to Wallace because he drew safety help.

I don't think Wallace only started getting extra attention halfway through the season -- it's not like he was a secret. Another thing about him is that he seemed to have a hard time catching the ball cleanly.

The speed is pretty amazing, yup. I don't think he's Nate Washington but on the other hand he's not Randy Moss either. I do think part of his "one trick pony" rep. is due to BenBruce's obsession with going deep.

Brown is the better all-around receiever and made a bunch of difficult, clutch catches the second half of the season.

Anyway, again, hope they both stick around.

--Anonymous Brian

dan said...

people who say Wallace "dissapeared" last season, or worse say it's arians' fault, try to make it all way simpler than it is

I think we all love antonio brown, but his emergence didn't come out of anywhere. Doesn't mean anything less about either of them, they are a great tandem that way