This whole Mike Wallace contract thing is getting a little bit ridiculous now. A month ago when Wallace came out and said he wanted Larry Fitzgerald money, I was convinced it was because he was trying to cut off teams that might be interested by giving them insane demands – he’s not worth Fitz cash yet so if there was a team dumb enough to offer it to him, why wouldn’t he take it. Then, last week, Antonio Brown was more confident than the old Ben Roethlisberger at Ladies’ Night when he said Wallace would be with the Steelers this season. Now, teams are apparently interested in trading for Wallace.
So far, all that Wallace had said about this whole thing is that he wants to remain a Steeler…that and the whole $120-milllion deal he’s “seeking.” All the information that’s out now has been vommed by other teams and Wallace’s agent – that’s nothing new. So for anyone to point to Wallace and blame him for this charade probably also thinks Art Rooney II should just cut him a check for $120 mil to put an end to all of this.
Wallace isn’t dumb…actually, he’s a genius. He did the Steelers a favor by putting that insane price tag on his forehead because they control what happens next, and he couldn’t be playing this situation any cooler with the way he’s just letting everyone else do the talking while he’s just living the life.
Wallace doesn’t want to sign his $2.7-mil tender – can you blame him? He may not be worth $15 mil a year but he’s definitely earned more than $3 mil. If that means he wants to sit out OTA’s and training camp while the two sides try to agree on something, that’s cool – he wouldn’t be the first Steelers receiver to sit out for a contract (if Hines was allowed to, why not his successor?) And if Wallace’s camp doesn’t want to agree on anything and he decides to sit out an entire year, that’s cool too - we’ll be right back in this same situation next year because Wallace will still be a RFA if he sits out.
There are people that love comparing this situation to the Santonio Holmes trade after he was named Super Bowl MVP. The Steelers got a fifth-round pick for Holmes but Holmes also had to sit the first four games of the year because he liked to Wake & Bake, and he was about to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Wallace doesn’t come with any of that baggage – he just wants a contract.
Kevin Colbert would be the dumb one here if he settles to trade Wallace for anything less than a first-round pick (that’s what his tender price is and he has 3,206 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns in just three years as a pro). The Steelers could survive losing Wallace for a first-round pick but would the offense really be as effective with Emmanuel Sanders or Jerricho Cotchery as the No. 2?
Steeler Nation wants Wallace here. Colbert wants Wallace here. Brown wants Wallace here. And most importantly Ben wants Wallace here. They all want the same thing that Wallace wants and that’s to get a deal done. Considering the two Jackson deals, Wallace’s next contract should look something like: 5 years/60 million with $18-mil guaranteed.
Wallace will probably end up getting something close to that; whether he gets it in the Burgh remains to be seen. But the whole process of locking up high-profile RFA’s is a process, and Wallace knows that. All this “teams are interested” talk is just the next step Wallace needs to take to get some straight cash, and he knows that too…because he’s not as dumb as we think.