The precedent for the Steelers to sign a player to a five-year extension after playing two seasons, and still having one year left on his original contract, is very thin, if it even exists. But more importantly, the question moving forward is whether the Steelers still intend to negotiate a long-term contract with Wallace, or if the contract extension given to Brown was the contract they offered Wallace, and by simply passing it from one party to the other, essentially gave Wallace one of the biggest Eff You's in team history.
While the emotional part of this transaction is apparent, the business part of it still remains. Brown was facing the same situation next season as Wallace is now, and Brown's low 2012 cap number creates more flexibility this season. Per Steelers Depot, and a nod to Pro Football Talk, Brown's 2012 cap number is now approximately $2.26 million - or, seemingly right in line with the money the team saved by releasing Jonathan Scott.
It's purely speculative, but that suggests this contract amount was previously established, meaning, maybe Brown got what Wallace refused.
In that case, it seems Wallace does indeed want more than that, but the fact they gave it to his lesser-statistically inclined starting teammate will without a doubt be viewed as an act of war by Camp Wallace.
The question is, how much does that really matter? Wallace was advised multiple times to sign his tender, get into camp and the negotiations would continue. Wallace refused. The issue is Wallace assumed he had leverage, and the Steelers showed him, in a highly-public way, he does not.
The salary cap situation is such where Brown really isn't taking up huge space this season, and Wallace is still earmarked for his $2.7 tender this year, so it's not as if he won't get a significant raise from the approximately $500,000 he made in 2011, provided he signs it and comes to camp. Brown's $8.5 million signing bonus is prorated into the next five seasons for cap purposes, and it's not as if the team couldn't do a deal of some kind with Wallace that would give him a strong contract.
But today, Brown has it and Wallace does not. However we want to flip this around, Wallace has to see he is at least half-responsible for that.