The cries of joy we heard in Pittsburgh were not of Mike Wallace and his agent, Bus Cook, celebrating their 1-year deal worth $2.7 million. They didn't come from the team happy to get its big-play receiver back.
The loudest cheer you heard was from the Steelers' beat writers who no longer have to write about speculation regarding the time Mike Wallace may miss in waiting to sign that contract.
Not so fast, Ed, Mark, Jim, et. al. The issue is still about time; it just shifts from how many weeks will Wallace avoid the team, to how many years will Wallace play in Pittsburgh?
The main sticking point is clearly the amount of that extension. Wallace was allegedly offered a deal in the range of five years, $50 million (guaranteed amount was never revealed), and he allegedly turned the alleged deal down (allegedly).
The Steelers took some of the money and paid WR Antonio Brown instead, something there's little doubt Wallace will forget by this time next year.
So what are the Steelers' options in 2013 regarding the fleet-of-feet Wallace and his aversion to training camp?
They can sign him to the long-term deal he's seeking. Just going on his average career totals to this point, he'd tack on another 60ish, 1,100ish and eight-ish catches, yards and touchdowns, respectively.
Those kinds of numbers would easily land him statistically with the top receivers in the game. They'd dwarf Jets WR Santonio Holmes, who received a five-year $45 million deal with New York in 2011, with all of the $24 million guaranteed he got coming in the first two seasons.
Vincent Jackson is picking up $11 million this year and $13 million next year. His deal is incrementally more than Holmes, and considering Wallace's numbers are (and would be even moreso with an average season for him) and will be better than both Jackson and Holmes.
In that case, why would $29-30 million guaranteed in the first two years of the deal be out of line?
If you use the contracts Holmes and Jackson as the main comparables - a fair assumption considering the timing of both deals and their production being around the same ballpark as Wallace's - he'd go into negotiations looking for something around five years, $60 million with $29 million guaranteed, $8 million up front, $8 million salary in year 1 and $13 million in 2013.
Holmes received $7.25 million up front in 2011, plus a salary of $9 million. He'll receive the remainder of his guaranteed money, $7.75 million, this season.
Jackson got $2 million up front, and will be paid $11 million this season, with the balance of his $26 million guaranteed, $13 million in 2013.
Wallace's numbers suggest this range, and based on what the market is paying for receivers who are a little less statistically advanced as he is, the Steelers can expect him to re-enter negotiations expecting a guaranteed dollar amount just south of $30 million at least.