Mike Wallace’s foray into the free agency market begins March 12, but a data point has already been set that will bring a smile to this Young Money free agent.
Kansas City Chiefs' wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has signed a contract with the Chiefs, reportedly worth $56 million over five years, with $26 million in guaranteed money and a $15 million signing bonus, according to NFL.com. In the first year of the contract, Bowe will earn $16 million, which is made up of the bonus, a base salary of $750,000 and a workout bonus of $250,000.
He will reportedly earn a total of $36 million over the first three years, averaging $12 million a year.
Forget about ridiculing Wallace's rumored desire to make "Fitzgerald" money; forget about comparisons to DeSean Jackson, this is a real comp signed today under current salary cap conditions for a receiver that has been outperformed by Wallace. The Steelers and the rest of the league will have to factor this into any considerations they have when discussing money with Wallace and his agent, despite the stratospheric heights to which wide receivers' contracts are reaching.
Wallace will surely use this comp to his advantage; he outperformed Bowe in every NFL combine drill except the Three Cone, where Bowe was only nine-hundredths of a second faster.
It will be when comparing Bowe's regular season production in his first four years to Wallace's career stats that will most likely set the "hook" Wallace's agent will use in negotiations. Wallace outperformed Bowe in every NFL data category except games started (8), receptions (40) and receptions per game (1).
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Wallace also greatly exceeded Bowe's performances in rushing statistics, although using a receiver as a rusher is like driving your Lamborghini on a dirt path; it might be fun, but is it worth the risk to the car?
Thus, Wallace's camp will be marketing his 4.28 speed in the 40 yard dash and thus his ability to spread a defense when using Bowe's contract as a starting point with the tag line "you'll get comparable production, but you'll have to pay for the speed".
Of course, those teams using more esoteric forms of measurement, such as DYAR and DVOA will claim that Bowe was appreciably the superior receiver, ranking 48th and 50th (respectively) to Wallace's 80th and 79th. To which most assuredly Wallace's agent will repeat "you can't teach speed, you have to pay for it".
Just imagine what kind of money Wallace could command if he had played all four quarters of each game with focus.