Mike Wallace's name is on the tip of every tongue on BTSC and in Steeler Nation in general. There have been a lot of proposed ideas. I have mixed feelings on this and I'd like to share a little bit of my perspective.
Obviously the two main options are either sign him or trade him. Cut him wouldn't make any sense and that won't happen.
Trading him has some potential advantages. We could get a couple good players in the middle rounds and someone else would have to pay the big bill. That sounds nice on paper. The problem with that plan is that it makes some major assumptions, namely that those players will pan out. We've all pointed to the trading of Holmes for a pick that become Antonio Brown who I feel will be our #1 in the near future.
But for every Antonio Brown there's another Limas Sweed. That's who we drafted in the 2nd round and he was a complete bust. Do we run the risk of losing what we already know to be a great WR for a couple of dice rolls? There's the old addage: Quit while you're ahead. We're ahead with Mike Wallace, no need to reach into the WR pool in the draft and pray lightning strikes a 3rd time in a row.
We've heard the arguments that Brown is better but he's had very little time to be analyzed and he benefits from Mike simply having a pulse and being on the field at the same time. Would he be the same player without Wallace stretching defenses? Do you want to take that chance?
Frankly I wouldn't be upset if we traded him, after all if he doesn't play we have to do something. I would be rather concerned however. It's a gamble that might pay off. And it makes sense to do it now instead of waiting: If he doesn't play his stock will fall. However I'd like to see him get signed.
So how can we do that, there's only one man that has that power.
The market is really inflating right now, especially for WRs. This is happening because of the new shift to offensive football and the pass being a more advantageous way to win with the new rules. Also the potential for a cap increase, and a flux of high level contracts having recently been signed has sent the numbers through the roof.
We've seen the breakdowns, but chances are Wallace would want about 10 million a year, and at least 20-25 guaranteed up front. Realistically the Steelers at this point in time can't offer that. They still have to pay their draft class, which even with the wage scale would be a few million if we have 10 picks. After resigning a few backups, it looks like our ability to sign the fastest man on the team is quickly diminishing.
So we're stuck between a rock and a hard place, we could trade him and take a chance, and we can't resign him.
So what can we do? Show the man some love. That's what.
I can totally sympathize with #17 right now. He's played really damn well for the last three years. He's left dudes in his dust a ridiculous number of times. The Ben to Wallace long ball is nearly as good as the Manning Harrison long ball, and they had a decade together. We're looking at just three years. Wallace is a baller and while he has room to improve, he'll only be turning 26 to start the season. How many of us at 26 were/will be on top of our game? Let's give some respect to MW for his incredible level of play for the last three years. Think about the games he's won for us. Think about the big plays that our offense never had before. Think about how exciting it is to watch the Steelers' offense, something I never thought I'd ever say.
And so #17 deserves his paycheck. Say what you will about the market and Wallace being overpriced or wanting too much money, the fact is something is only worth what its purchaser will pay for, and this isn't Russia, this is Merica and the free liberty loving market has spoken.
But as I mentioned before, We simply cannot sign him right now. Thine Fuhrer of the Nationalist Fascist League ended up lowering the cap with the new CBA, and so we're simply SOL.
So with that in mind, I'd like to Petition Mike Wallace. Mike, if you're reading this, I want you to think about something.
You already won the lottery once Mike. You were drafted by one of the best organizations in football. You had about a 3% chance of getting drafted as a Steeler. You could be playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Cleveland Browns, the Cincinatti Bengals, the Oakland Raiders (it's amazing this isn't the case with your speed). And sure maybe you'd have a pile of money right now, and be driving a car that's faster than you are.
But take a second and consider your outstanding 3 year career. You haven't missed a game due to injury, so why worry about that happening this year? And you have one of the best QBs in the game throwing you the ball. I know he doesn't always throw the best deep ball, and more often than not he's sacked in the backfield. But he's looking for you, and he tends to hit you for plays that get on Sportscenter's top ten. We all know you're a great combo. Do you really want to try and be the best at what you do with a guy like Colt McCoy throwing it at you?
I know you want some money now, and you should. Pittsburgh is one team though that will take care of you if you take care of them. And you have. We're just trying to make sure the rest of the team is good so that you can be good. You might wonder why defensive guys got resigned before you. Maybe you feel slighted. The reality is that if we're givìng up points left and right, we'll just go one dimensional and you'll have triple coverage every play. How fun would that be? Not very. Catching a Play action pass deep over the safeties is probably a much better time.
Pittsburgh will pay you for your selflessness, and not only will they pay you in cash, a most delightful substance, but they'll repay you with loyalty. They'll repay you with class. They'll repay you with wins and award and accolades. They'll repay you with a legacy, not just a career. How do you want to be remembered Mike? Do you want to go out like Holmes, a guy who carries the dreaded label of "character issues" and will only be remembered for his fleeting contributions in Pittsburgh? Or do you want to be the next Hines Ward, a future Hall of Famer that is regarded as one of the best to have played the game?
And above all you'll have the support of the best fans sports could offer. This very letter to you is coming from Peru. People won't shed actual tears for you if you leave now, but if you leave in 10 years we sure as hell will. We're not only able to give you the greatest football career you could ever have, but we're able to offer the most supportive staff and fans to back it up.
I know you're hot right now, you want to move up to that next level. I'd ask you to be patient for just one more year. Make 2.7 million dollars, more than 3 average Americans will make in their lives, and truly earn your payday, and cement your legacy as a Pittsburgh Steeler. Join the ranks of the other dozen or so players we have in Canton. Put a ring on your finger. Become the greatest player you can be in Black and Gold, and we'll make sure you're taken care of.
You're the only one who can decide what will happen. If you don't play, things probably aren't going to go well for you. If you get traded, you'll be making your money but you won't have the satisfaction of playing for the winningest team in NFL history. You'll be watching us play in the playoffs and wishing you were there. Don't make the mistakes Holmes and Plaxico have done. Even Randle El took the payday and came back. It's not too late to save yourself from their fate. Stay here, we'll reward you, and you'll never regret that decision.
Addressing the nation, if you want Mike to stay here, and you want him to play this year, show him some love. Instead of talking about him like he's a deceased relative, let's show him how much he means to this team and how bad we want him here. I don't think there's a single one of us that actually WANTS Mike off this team. Yet we're already accepting it as a fact. Let the man know what we all really want: For him to stay in Pittsburgh for life.