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.