Steelers Leave For Denver And New Contract For Mike Wallace Misses Flight

The bewitching hour has come and gone as the Pittsburgh Steelers have boarded their plane and left for Denver with no news that wide receiver Mike Wallace has received a long-term deal.

While there is a very tiny, tiny, tiny chance that they just are keeping it hush, it wouldn\’t make sense for them to do so and in all likelihood Wallace will now have to play out his fourth season under his restrictive tender of $2.74 million. The team is not normally one to do contracts once the season starts, and in this case, once the team boards the plane to travel to their opener.

Last year we saw safety Troy Polamalu sign his extension in the Pittsburgh airport prior to the team leaving for their opener Baltimore, but at the time of this post, no such similar thing appears to have taken took place with Wallace.

Baring it just not being reported yet, which I highly doubt at this point, Wallace will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2012 season and the Steelers must decide whether or not to let him walk or place the franchise tag on him that will be in the neighborhood of $10 million.

I have pointed out in a previous post that it is not out of the question that that could happen from a cap standpoint, especially if James Harrison was to become a cap causality and a few other restructures that I believe will happen take place. For now, that is a long time off to waste much time or keystrokes on.

Team President Art Rooney II and General Manager Kevin Colbert stated all offseason that getting Wallace signed to a long-term deal was a priority, but as it looks right now, they appeared to fall short of that goal.

Not knowing exactly what Wallace was wanting contract wise, especially in the guaranteed money department, combined with not knowing what the Steelers were offering, makes the whole situation hard to handicap as to why the deal never got done.

While several reports suggested that Wallace at first wanted Larry Fitzgerald type money and that he turned down a 5-year deal in the range of $50 million, the Wallace camp never confirmed or denied any of these reports. The reader of this post, you, will have to read into what ever reports that you want to believe and go from there. That being said, keep in mind that Wallace never was quoted as saying what he was looking for dollar wise. The reports are the reports and stand unconfirmed right now in my mind.

The Steelers signing of Antonio Brown to an extension early on in camp had nothing to do with Wallace, outside of just getting the deal done early to perhaps throw it in his face. He was going to get extended regardless of what ultimately happened with Wallace and his contract only moved the 2012 salary cap needle $1.7 million after the smoke had cleared.

I believed all along that a new deal would get done with Wallace right up until the team left for Denver today. Did Wallace hurt his chances by holding out all of training camp instead of maybe just the first week? That certainly could be the case, but there were some reports that suggested negotiations had reopened once he reported and signed his tender. Once again, reports are just that, reports.

If indeed Wallace turned down a five-year deal worth around $50 million, it might wind up being the best or worst decision of his football career. He now runs the risk of being franchised next year, or worse, suffering a severe knee injury this season. Should he avoid the franchise tag, which is certainly possible, and has a decent season, he will get paid huge money by another team early in the 2013 free agency period.

Should the Steelers decide to franchise him, he runs the risk of making only $12.74 million total over two seasons. I say only, but you get my drift. That decision is now way off in the future as a whole season now awaits us before that decision will be made.

After the game against Denver it will be interesting to hear the comments made by both Colbert and Wallace as to why a deal was never completed. Interesting, yes, but none of that will matter though in the grand scheme of things, because when the plane left Pittsburgh today, a newly signed contract appears to have missed the flight. That\’s all that really matters at this point.

  • LouPGH

    For awhile now I’ve been a fan of getting a deal done, but think about what has changed in the interim. With AB locked up for the foreseeable future and the franchise tag being a realistic possibility, it makes sense not to overpay for Wallace’s services. If he has anything from a pretty good to great year this year, franchise him. You then have plenty of time to find/groom another guy to take his spot. If not, either let him walk or keep him at whatever reduced rate he will cost after dropping off for a one and a half seasons. All the risk is on him. Wallace is either not listening to the right people or Bus Cook is out of his damned mind.

  • SteelerDave

    Lou, I agree.

    I am one who felt a Wallace deal would never get done. I know his value as a speed threat and how he helps to open things up underneath and the point that sometimes he would draw double coverage.

    However by his not being here in the preseason it gave Brown and Sanders a chance to show they can still be great WRs and still make the catches and run many routes more effectively than one trick Wallace could ever dream of being able to do.

    I suspect that Wallace will have a full season of performance at the same level of his second half last season and that he will never be franchised and will regret the stupid choices he has made, costing him untold millions. By season’s end Brown and Sanders will have had great seasons and Wallace will no longer even be starting.

  • kristopher Fine

    i love how you all, even tomlin, refer to wallace as a “one trick pony”. these “one trick ponies” must be a dime a dozen; there are so many of them in the NFL. Guys that can run really fast: DHB, torrey smith, ted ginn jr, rondel melendez, jerome mathis, jacoby ford, trindon holliday, yamon figurs, etc. i’m sure you’ve heard of these guys, after all they put up similar statistics as wallace.

    tomlin was just messing around when he said it. he knows what wallace is, a damn good wide receiver. when you all say it i think you believe it. so you’re fed up with the situation. so am i. let’s not go labeling him something he’s not. i’m not saying he’s polished, but clearly he is more than a “one trick pony”. plenty of guys that can run fast, but who puts up similar numbers? please tell me.

    Get this guy in his “one trick pony” prime. I’m confident the steelers will figure it out and get a deal done. maybe not this year, but next year.

  • TJimmy

    I think Wallace will regret this. He won’t get the catches this year with Antonio Brown on the team, and it will reduce his value. And he’s losing out on $15+ million guaranteed. He won’t make this up in free agency even if the Steelers let him go.

  • Tim Culligan

    I agree, people (not steelers depot) try to sound informed about Wallace by saying he’s not a great route runner, just a deep threat. In reality, he’s a elite, top 5 deep threat, and a very solid route runner. Maybe his intermediate routes are not at an all pro level like his post routes, but that doesn’t mean there not good at all.

  • LucasY59

    I agree with your last sentence (he should fire his agent) from what I’ve seen and heard from Wallace he does not come across as a Diva WR (T.O, Randy Moss, Ochocinco) Yes he wants to get paid (IMO he has definately earned that right) He has his Idea of what he is worth and the Steelers couldnt afford (because of the salary cap) and/or didnt agree with his price tag.

  • LucasY59

    I am hoping for a positive outcome to no deal getting done (sorry, but no true fan should be hoping he has a bad year/gets injured and loses out on $) I hope he puts up the best #s of his career (because that also means the Steelers should be having a good/great year as well) If he proves he is worth it, good for him and I hope they pay him and get a contract done next offseason.

  • LucasY59

    One other thing, everyone who complains about Wallace being a one trick pony (it is one of the rarest tricks in the league and he is one of the best at it) I dont think you were complaining when he was Burning past defenders and scoring touchdowns/making big plays or drawing coverage from the defense to help A.B. have the season he had last year. (I dont like the disloyalty, if Wallace leaves after this year for the $ then Steelers fans can bash him as a greedy one trick pony, but while he is on the team you should be loyal to the team)

  • SteelerDave

    What makes Wallace an all-pro caliper player is not solely his speed. I too refer to him sometimes as “one trick pony” but I also do know he has great hands overall. One of the most challenging things to do is to catch a deep pass while running full speed. He is the best in the game at doing exactly that.

    Catching a ball in heavy traffic over the middle, running crisp enough routes in the red zone, using agility to make defenders miss tackles, blocking, reading the defense and finding the soft spot are all things he still needs to develop in his game.

    We are used to Hines Ward who was never one the fastest WRs and his style of play. Wallace is a different style altogether. I think that is why as fans we both love and hate Wallace.