Wide receiver Desean Jackson signed a pretty hefty new contract earlier this week that will alow him to stay with the Eagles for the next five years. When you add that deal to the one that Marques Colston signed with the Saints--five years, $40 million--it might have increased Mike Wallace's value (at least in his eyes) and made it a little more difficult for the Steelers to sign him.
Even though team general manager Kevin Colbert insisted that the Steelers wanted to do everything in their power to keep Wallace, would the team be willing to offer the speedster a contract that averages in the $8-$10 million range annually? The Steelers had to cut a few veterans and asked a couple of other players to restructure their deals just so the team would be in compliance with the NFL's salary cap for 2012. Beings that the team declined to make Wallace a franchise player and pay him roughly $9 million next season, it seems unlikely that they would be willing to pay Wallace an annual salary that would even approach that.
However, will the Steelers even have to worry about it?
Did the new deals for Jackson and Colston give Wallace leverage, or did they take it away?
Wallace is a restricted free agent, and the Steelers have the right to match any offer sheet that Wallace would receive from another club. Since the Steelers offered Wallace a first round tender of $2.7 million for next season, if Wallace signs an offer sheet with another club, and the Steelers decline to match the deal, Pittsburgh would receive that team's 2012 first round draft choice as compensation.
The question is: Does Mike Wallace think he's worth $8-$10 million annually? If he does think that, is there a club out there willing to pay him that kind of money plus lose their first round draft choice?
$8 million plus your first round draft choice is a lot to give up, especially for a wide receiver.
I know Wallace is good, but he might not be deemed as valuable outside of Pittsburgh as he is here.
It'll be interesting to see how valuable teams think Mike Wallace really is, and if the Steelers agree.