The Pittsburgh Steelers have always been notorious for not negotiating with players who decide to take their final year of their contract hostage by holding out during the offseason and training camp. When it was time for Mike Wallace to sign a deal after being tendered the previous season, he went where the green was and ended up on a willing and unsuspecting Miami Dolphins squad. During that holdout, the Steelers signed Mike Wallace teammate, Antonio Brown, to a big long term contract worth $42.5 million – essentially saying to Wallace and the rest of the football world that Brown was their new #1 guy and Wallace can stay for peanuts.
The Dolphins and the fans of the Phins were ecstatic to have Wallace join their squad. And, most of Steeler Nation was happy to see him go. No longer would we have to put up with the poor attitude, the lack of physical play, the lack of trying, and trying to be sold that the phrase ‘one trick pony’ was a good thing. Wallace started the season with two strong performances out of the first five. But lately, he has struggled right along with the rest of his troubled locker room squad. Of course one could argue that poor play from the offense all around has contributed to Wallace’s poor numbers, but the game tape doesn’t lie that the things that have always plagued him on the field continue to do so.
Wallace may be enjoying the money, but Antonio Brown certainly seems to be enjoying ‘greener’ pastures by being a part of the Steelers. Sure, the Steelers are struggling with their own problems, but Brown is by far having a far superior season to Wallace’s and is benefitting from having an all pro Super Bowl winning quarterback as the one throwing the football. Brown is having a great 2013 season and is on pace to break some records along the way. Despite the lack of explosiveness, despite the struggles in the red zone, despite his own performance getting in the way sometimes, Brown is finding the way of piling up the stats and proving his worth to this squad.
Here are the numbers in comparison:
|Antonio Brown||Mike Wallace|
Brown has the better numbers and is crushing Wallace in the amount of yards – almost double. Brown is on pass to surpass 1,500 yards while Wallace will be lucky to crack a grand. Hard knocks for a player who was signed for $12 million a year to make big plays. Brown may not be splashy, but he’s getting the job done. And all of that adds up to the Pittsburgh Steelers front office looking like geniuses when it came to keeping Brown and dropping the bad vibes of Wallace.
With things on the decline in Miami and all the trouble taking place within the organization, Wallace’s numbers should stay stagnant most of the season. The Steelers have their own struggles, but the wheels have yet to come off for the offense, and even if they did, I really don’t see Big Ben connecting with Brown any more or less than he already does.
The Steelers front office might be under fire for lots of things the last two seasons. But, at least they got one thing right by signing Antonio Brown and saying adieu to Mike Wallace.