STEELERS LIKELY TO TAKE HARD STANCE IF WALLACE IS A NO-SHOW
While the Steelers and wide receiver Mike Wallace are as much as $5 to $7 million apart in guaranteed money on a new long-term contract, there has been enough positive dialogue between the two sides in the past seven to 10 days that barring a complete “collapse in talks” between now and July 25th, a team source tells Inside Pittsburgh Sports.com that top Steeler officials are under belief that Wallace intends to sign hisÂ restricted free agent tender and report on time as there has been a “good faith” effort established of late from both sides to hammer out a long-term deal before the start of the regular season.
If Wallace doesn’t show up, the Steelers are likely to break off talks, sources said.
The Steelers have a history of working out long-term deals in camp for key players entering the last years of their contracts, reaching agreements in camp last summer with LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons, in addition to signing Troy Polamalu to a four-year, $36.5 million contract a day before the regular season opener in Baltimore. Woodley received a six-year, $61.5 million contract, that included $22.5 million in guaranteed money, while Timmons signed a six-year, $50 million contract, that included an $11 million signing bonus.
Talks between the Steelers and Wallace had previously gone nowhere as Wallace has been said to be demanding as much as $27-$30 million in guaranteed money, a number the Steelers have and will continue to balk out. His demands are starting to become much more realistic and Steelers internally had been cautiously optimistic that talks would begin to progress as camp inched closer and in fact, concessions are being made from both sides with Wallace coming down from his outrageous demands.
CBS Sports Jason LaCanfora is among those confirming progress is being made. “The sides have remained in close contact and continued their dialogue and are expected to maintain a steady pace with the start of training camp looming,” La Canfora reports. “There has been some movement and though no deal is imminent and work remains to be done, the situation has certainly improved since early this offseason. Both sides are motivated to complete a long-term contract”
We could see other factors in a deal getting done in the Steelers favor come into play here as there are whispers that Wallace has some concerns about being more phased out of the Steelers new offense that is expected to show a strong emphasis on a quick explosive passing game that plays to the strengths of Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, in addition to a focus from the coaching staff on re-establishing the run.
In the second half of last season with the emergence of Antonio Brown who is the Steelers best and most complete receiver, Wallace had just 32 receptions for 419 yards in his final nine games, averaging 46.5 yards and 3.6 catches per game during that span.
A season like the second half he had last season and he might not be as attractive of a free agent like he thinks he would be, in addition to being another year older as when his 4.2/4.3 speed could soon become 4.4/4.5 speed, he’s no longer such a dynamic player which is always a worry of committing big money with speed guys.
If the Steelers and Wallace strike a long-term deal before week 1, like some are now expecting, look for it to come in much closer to DeSean Jackson’s guaranteed money of $15 million, than Vincent Jackson’s $26 million in guaranteed money.
A LOOK AT THEÂ DESEANÂ JACKSON ANDÂ VINCENTÂ JACKSON DEALS THIS OFF-SEASON
Tampa Bay Vincent Jackson – Signed a five-year, $55,555,555 contract. The deal contains $26 million guaranteed, including a $2 million first-year reporting bonus and all of Jackson’s first two base salaries. 2012: $11 million, 2013: $13 million, 2014: $10 million, 2015-2016: $9.778 million, 2017: Free Agent
Philadelphia Eagles DeSean Jackson – Signed a five-year, $47 million contract. The deal contains $15 million guaranteed — a $10 million signing bonus, Jackson’s first-year base salary, $4 million of his second-year salary, and $750,000 of his third-year salary. Another $4 million is available through incentives. Jackson is eligible for annual $200,000 workout bonuses throughout the contract’s life. 2012: $750,000, 2013: $6.75 million, 2014: $10.25 million, 2015-2016: $9.75 million, 2017: Free Agent — rotoworld