Looking At The Vincent Jackson Contract Numbers

With the status of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace currently in limbo, everyone is wondering what the new contract signed today by Vincent Jackson with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers means in relation to what Wallace might be looking for. The contract that Jackson signed was a five-year deal worth a total of $55,555,555.00 with $26 million of it fully guaranteed. That is a bunch of 5\’s for sure, but the supposed contract numbers that are presented by Pro Football Talk reveal that it is really just a two-year deal worth $26 million as Jackson receives a 2012 fully-guaranteed base salary of $11 million to go along with a $2 million roster bonus. That makes his 2012 salary cap hit $13 million, which the Buccaneers clearly had enough room for as they entered the free agency period way underneath the cap.

Year two of the Jackson deal has a fully guaranteed base salary of $13 million according to the breakdown. The base salaries for years 2014-2016 are really irrelevant as they are not guaranteed and being as there was no signing bonus in the deal, there is no proration to have to worry about. Now should the Buccaneers need cap space in 2013, they can always restructure the contract and turn a huge portion of that 2013 base salary in to a signing bonus and prorate it over the remaining years of the contract.

Now there is no way the Steelers could do a contract with Wallace that would present a first year cap hit of $13 million. They could have franchised him for less than that. They would also likely have a hard time fully guaranteeing the second year base salary as I mention in a previous post. Ideally the Steelers would like a chunk of the contract they do with Wallace to be a roster bonus in the second year. So if Wallace is thinking he is going to get $26 million guaranteed from the Steelers, he is fooling himself. At least I think he is.

Signing bonuses can only be prorated 5 years no matter how long the deal is for and the Steelers realistically can only afford a 2012 cap hit of $4.5 million or less with him and that might be shooting too high on my part. In my opinion that would mean a signing bonus of no more than around $17-18 million and that is likely way more than the Steelers likely want to give him. If they did, and he still wanted to get to the $26 million nearly guaranteed range, that would mean a 2013 roster bonus of around $7-8 million or so. That would give the Steelers the ability to turn that roster bonus into signing bonus in 2013 to lower his 2013 cap hit as they move towards the magic 2014 year when the cap should jump tremendously with the new TV contracts in play..

The Steelers will not over pay Wallace and this is the reason you see the game of chicken that is going on right now. The numbers of the new contract that Marques Colston signed today with the New Orleans Saints are not public yet, but early word is that they are inflated and the early guaranteed money really isn\’t full guaranteed. We will have to see as they should come out shortly.

  • Giving market value to a player is not overpaying. I doubt Wallace has any illusion of the Steelers guaranteeing him 26 mil over two years but I don’t think he feels guilty that the league considers his talents to have that value and that other teams will pay it.

    The only people fooling themselves are the people that feel like teams or players owe anything to each other. If someone wants to pay him more then a well run team can reasonably budget to the position, god bless and good luck. It doesn’t make him a jerk or a traitor. He’s well outperformed his contract and I think it’s a little weak to bash him for very quietly and professionally waiting for his time to get the big contract and wanting to max out his deal even if it means going to another team.

  • Eric87

    there should be no bashing of wallace if he leaves for a bigger deal, thats just the way things are, but hey if you leave the team, then good luck to ya and you are on the other side now so keep your head on a swivel. Not to many wr’s who leave Pitt have been greatly successful. Washington may be about it, Wallace has been a great Steeler and hopefully he remains 1, if not best of luck to him. Still don’t think he warrants that type of deal, guess we will see what the rest of the league thinks soon.

  • Eric87

    I do feel though, if he truly wants to stay with the team, it would be better(for the team) to get a deal worked out before the season starts. If it goes into next offseason Wallace is gone because the Steelers won’t pay him and Brown. Unless Sanders has a breakout season, I don’t believe he will garner that big contract. So, hopefully those 2 will be retained next year.

  • SteelersDepot

    Care to point out where I bashed him? You people kill me. SMH.

  • Eric87

    just as a few of us debated a week ago or so, some players play for the love of the game and some for the money, some get lucky enough to do both. I can see that wallace loves the game, so if he leaves for more money I have no quarrel with him. Look at guys like Haynesworth or Leaf who have all the potential but are lazy and don’t care about the game or fans.

  • Tom

    I”m a little unclear how this thing works. If no one signs Wallace tomorrow, is he a Steeler for sure at least this year?

  • Eric87

    guess Burress did decently as well with the Giants

  • SteelersDepot

    No teams have until April 20th to sign him to an offer sheet.

  • Mellymorales07

    Well one thing u can say is if he goes which he might !! We will and we always find new key players !! Just like the year we beat the jets in the playoffs and santonio was a sad puppy that face he had was Priceless !! It’s just the business of the matter !! And we all got to see what happen to holmes when he went to a team with a sucky qb he quit on them !! And these bucs over payed this VJ he ain’t worth the money he got !!

  • Dan

    I’m as big of a proponent of locking up Wallace long term as anybody. I’ll be dancing in the street if it happens, but $55M for 5 years would be too much. TB clearly overpaid, but perhaps there’s a surcharge to get players to come to a weak team, that the Steelers should not have to pay.

    Having Wallace locked up would ease any problems if Brown doesn’t work out. I hope Brown does work out, but I’m not 100% convinced he won’t become a head case at some point. The team should be able to figure that out in due time.

  • Eric87

    Everyone here is debating on what happens when Wallace wants the big deal and the steelers lose him, now lets take a look at things from what Mike should be thinking about. If no other team offers him a contract this season he has 2 options imo: 1-play out the year on the 2.7 mil tender, or 2- sign a long-term deal with the Steelers. If Wallace decides to play out the tender, he could either have a poor season or become injured which may result in him not receiving a large contract offer from any team. If no other team comes forward, then it may be in the best interest of Wallace to take the big contract that the Steelers are offering because it may not be that good in the future. All conjecture, but a valid point imo.

  • SteelersDepot
  • Eric87

    sorry Dave, didnt remember that you had touched on the subject already

  • I’m probably mixing your somewhat mild negitive tone with more comments from other people then I realized after re reading your post but the comments like “fooling himself” and “not going to overpay”, while not direct insults, create the impression that he expects to or has asked to be overpaid or that he has made some unreasonable demands.

    You at one point suggested the Steelers be what i would consider less then ethical in pressuring Wallace to sign under market.

    I’ve been really impressed with the way our players have been professional and non personal about their business the last few years and years ago Mike was upfront years ago that he would never hold out or cause any problems because he knew that even as a third round pick his money would be there some day.

    It’s wrong to be critical of the good guys when they finally get the upper hand in their business for a few days. We should be happy for him instead of sorry for ourselves. I love to see great players who aren’t loud mouth jerks gets the golden ring. It’s pretty cool.

  • Eric87

    Potentially troubling news. Brandon Lloyd on way to SF for a visit. Should be hoping this guy signs with NE or tricky, dirty Belicheck may steal Wallace away. There are no reports of NE going after Wallace, but they like to pull stuff out from nowhere.

  • I never honestly felt like he wanted to stay his whole career. I think one of the things about him that impressed me was that he was all about the money but he was upfront about it from the start and didn’t feel the need to be a disruption or cause the problems people like that often cause.

    I always felt he would stay for his rookie deal, we would get the one high tender year and then he would go. I always thought a smart GM would offer the carrot of no tag in exchange for no problems and playing out the contract until free agency.

    That’s probably why I was so quick with the one year answer to your earlier question.

  • Eric87

    I guess I see what you were saying as well, might as well try to keep him in Pitt as long as possible, whether its 6 yrs, 1 or 2. Guess he did bring a pretty big return on the 3rd round pick we used. Was just hoping he would stick around for a while.

  • Joe D

    It looking more and more that Steelers will get Wallace for 2.7 mil this year…
    Clearly, as stated before, Steelers are in the drivers seat.
    It may take a week for Wallace and his agent to figure that out.
    The best business move Steelers can do…
    Sign wallace to 2.7 mil for 2012…
    Franchise tag in 2013 which may cost $10mill.
    So, that is 13 million over 2 years or 6.5 million per.
    That is the starting point for a 5 year deal… if wallace wants a 5 year deal..
    5 and 40million is the number…

  • Huskie

    I saw this too. I’m really hoping Lloyd ends up in NE because I think that will pretty much lock up Wallace for us. Even if we lose him to another team, I don’t think it would be so bad if we get a higher 1st round pick. I just don’t want NE or the 9ers late round picks.

  • I think what people are forgetting in terms of “fair value” is that the cap is about to go through the roof and the new deal drmatically cuts the cost of top draft choices. Both of these facts will work to dramatically increase free agent pay over the next few years. Teams can either be amung the first to take advantage of new rules or they can pretend things haven’t changed and let other teams take the advantage. Pretending the landscape and values are unchanged from the last deal are wishful thinking.

    As for the above if in regards to Wallace wanting a 5 year deal the key there is that this is if he wants it from the Steelers.

    Every day the Steelers wait it just costs more. That’s why the only meaning for the delay is that he’s leaving with the only question being 1, 2 or 3 years.