Steelers Free Agency: Details of Dolphins Mike Wallace contract emerge

Joe Sargent

The disgruntled receiver had a plan heading into free-agency, and he was going to cash in on his electrifying speed; but after examining his new contract, did he actually get a good deal?

According to PFT, former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, who signed a new contract with the Miami Dolphins, will only count for $3.25 million toward the 2013 NFL salary cap.

Here are the details as presented by PFT, although you can read their original report on his deal here:

1. $11 million signing bonus.

2. $1 million base salary in 2013, fully guaranteed.

3. $15 million base salary in 2014, fully guaranteed.

4. $9.85 million base salary in 2015, $3 million of which is guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed next March.

5. $11.45 million base salary in 2016.

6. $11.45 million base salary in 2017.

7. $50,000 workout bonus, each year.

His $11 million signing bonus will hit the cap for $2.2 million in each season on the deal, while all of the actual cash goes straight into his pocket. He then has $19 million in guaranteed money coming over the first three seasons, but - as PFT describes it - the Dolphins pretty much hold option years for the final two, and pretty much 2015 as well.

If the team were to cut Wallace in 2015, they would still save $250k against his scheduled cap hit, while eliminating his final two seasons completely. To cut him in 2016, the Dolphins would save $7.05 million against the cap while slashing the $23 million in base salaries and workout bonuses he was set to receive over the final seasons, against only a $4.4 million cap penalty. Releasing him in the final season saves $9.2 million.

Wallace held out of Pittsburgh's pre-season activities after the team was unable to offer him a contract which he felt was worthy of his signature, even refusing to sign the $2.742 million RFA tender which they offered him as a last resort. Allegedly, he was demanding a big-time contract to guarantee his living against injury. This new deal does cover him for at least two seasons, but does nothing for his job security beyond.

Basically, Wallace signed with the Dolphins for two guaranteed seasons, and a total of $27 million of guaranteed money - $30 million guaranteed over three years if you count the 2015 roster bonus. It makes perfect sense why Miami was willing to offer him this deal. Even with the cap space they already possessed, the structure of Wallace's contract shows why they were able to spend as openly as they have in the early days of free-agency.

It will be interesting to cross-reference Wallace's structure against his fellow new teammates, to see a clearer picture of where the Dolphins are headed over the next few seasons. However, contradictory to original speculation, a team did not overspend in the first year of his new deal to comply with the upcoming cap minimum spending requirements; although, his $15 million guaranteed in season-two may have something to do with 2014's cap floor.

Despite the low first-year cap hit, the Steelers were simply not in position to match such a deal - not with their current state of affairs. With future starts nearing the ends of their respective rookie contracts, Pittsburgh will have some major re-signings to deal with over the next three seasons.

Although Wallace will be wearing a different jersey next season - and probably the season after - players like Larry Foote and William Gay prove his time in Black-and-Gold may not be over for good; although many bridges were burned in his name's sake in 2012.

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