Above is a link to a short segment with ESPN’s John Clayton talking about the last restricted free agent in the NFL without a deal – Mike Wallace.In the clip, Clayton says ‘no deal’ as of yet (duh) but that the Steelers organization is optimistic about signing a deal with Wallace before camp starts. He notes the Steelers are good at ‘taking care of’ their top players such as Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu. The Steelers are confident that there won’t be a holdout either.
Taking care of their top players. Very true Mr. Clayton. But, I am hard pressed to put Mike Wallace in the same breath as Big Ben and the Tazmanian Devil. Wallace is a very good young player. But, he has yet to fully prove himself as a high impact and ‘can’t do without’ player such as Ben and Troy. That’s why a deal hasn’t been signed yet in the first place. Wallace wants money equivalent to the top paid receivers in the league. That would be like taking Andy Dalton and signing him to the same kind of money Big Ben has. Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals is a very good young quarterback. But is he elite? Can the Bengals not win without him? And, while most of us chuckle and think, ‘It’s tough for the Bengals to win with anyone’ I think the Bengals can win without a guy like Dalton. So if he were to have the same kind of numbers this season and next as he had last season, then stand on his box and ask for a $100 million contract, he would be laughed at. Much like how Wallace can’t be taken seriously right now demanding for a paycheck as big as Larry Fitzgerald’s. No way. No how. Not when you essentially disappear halfway into the season.
The only way the two sides come to an agreement is if Wallace sucks it up and signs what the Steelers are willing to pay him – my guess is six years with $8 million/year on a sliding scale getting him up to $11 million in his last season of his contract that is chalk full of incentives to keep him producing. Will he sign something like that? Right now, the way this situation has been silent, I would say no. But, the Steelers Omar Khan has a way of getting contracts done.
We don’t have much time before camp starts. Will a contract get done in time. Right now the scale is tipping in favor of a ‘no.’