I’m going to make this short and sweet. A paper in Sacramento reported that Mike Wallace told the 49’ers he wanted to be paid more than star receiver Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals. Putting aside how absurd that demand is, it certainly has Steelers Nation up in arms about Wallace wanting that much money and even considering leaving the Steelers. Let’s get one thing straight: Wallace is not going to get that kind of money this year. Hillbillies want to be called ‘Sons of the Soil’ but we know that’s not ever going to happen – much like how Wallace is not going to get Larry Fitzgerald kind of money.
And why is everyone so upset? What kind of NFL do you follow if you think a young player is willing to take less money to stay with a proven winning franchise? Winning is great, but at 25, Benjamins speak louder than Lombardis. So it should be no shock that Wallace wants his payday while he’s a hot topic of young speedy receivers. The Steelers want to lock him up long term, but have no where near the capital to pay him Fitz money. So, of course he’s going to consider going somewhere else.
Let’s look at this a smart way too. By wanting that much money without having the stats to back it up, he’s pretty much priced himself out of the free agency market – even for teams like Denver who have the cash to give away. More than likely, no one will make an offer, and the Steelers will retain him for the $2.7 the team tendered him for. Even though that’s not the best situation for him, it makes a pretty good situation for the Steelers. They may lose a first round draft pick that they could have traded by keeping Wallace, but now they would have a very motivated receiver for an entire season. Yeah very motivated. Next season he would be an unrestricted free agent (unless the Steelers sign him before camp or during the season) and will need to perform well if he wants his payday. One more season like he had this past season – fast start, dud finish – and his worth will plummet.
So there’s no reason to be upset over Wallace wanting big money and looking beyond Pittsburgh for it. That’s part of the game and business. It may be absurd that he wants that kind of money and even thinks that he can get it. But, in the end, that might just be the thing to keep him in Pittsburgh for one more year.