Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mike Wallace Likes Black and Gold, Loves Green

Despite the title of the article, this won't be a "doom and gloom" piece. I can only respect a man who is trying to get all he can from his abilities. Even in the form of money. Especially in the form of money. That having been said, I still think Mike Wallace stays in Pittsburgh and that a deal gets done by March 5th.

The Steelers restricted free agent Mike Wallace gave an interview today to Adam Schein and Jim Miller on Sirius XM NFL Radio and covered the main things on the minds of Steelers fans, most notably his pending free agency.

Mike Wallace, @Wallace17_daKid on Twitter, says his agent and the Steelers, basically, of course, Kevin Colbert and Omar Khan, have been working hard to get a deal done. Wallace says he wants to stay in Pittsburgh, but has to think about his family.

Hm...has to think about his family? Yeahhh...I'm not going to delve too deeply into that right now, because worms can be really difficult to get back in the can. Suffice it to say, people making $40,000 a year are 'thinking about their families' too. So, if he goes elsewhere for, say, $32 million over 4 years after the Steelers offered him $28 million over 4 years, that's a difference of $8 million as opposed to $7 million per year. At that point you're not thinking of your family, you're thinking of your "boyz." Because the only really difference that would make would be the ability to have your name engraved in gold on your Escalade instead of just having it gold-plated. Moving on...

To expand this, Wallace was asked if he thinks about the possibility of actually leaving the Steelers and signing somewhere else. Wallace said, "Well, the position that I am in, I'm always going to think about it sometimes because I have never been in this position before. So, it's kind of hard to just not think about anything. So yeah, my mind wanders from time-to-time, but my heart is definitely in Pittsburgh. That's where I would like to be at, but we all know that it's a business and you have certain things that you have to handle. So if I have to go elsewhere, you know Pittsburgh will always be in my heart, but I have to do what I have to do.

Now, despite the poor grammar, I don't really have a problem with what he said there. That could be translated to, "I really like my girlfriend a lot, but I'm out the door if Halle Berry comes knockin." I ain't mad atcha, brotha. Not with the way you put it here, at least. Like Michael Corleone said, "It's just business, never personal."

So, Wallace then was asked if the San Francisco 49ers or the New England Patriots would be two teams he'd consider signing with and he replied, "Most definitely. Those are two playoff caliber teams, Super Bowl caliber teams, and I think the right piece to those guys would put them over the top. All they need is that one more piece to any one of those puzzles I think on both sides of those teams. So most definitely they're Super Bowl contending teams. So I would most definitely, if I were to go anywhere else, that would definitely be two teams because this is a situation of them being contenders. I wouldn't want to go anywhere and leave the situation where I am at that has a great quarterback, a great organization and go somewhere where I don't feel I can succeed.

When asked if a new deal is not done by the start of free agency, was his mentality one that he thought he would no longer be with the Steelers. Wallace said, "That's the mentality that you almost have to take and look at it, but I definitely don't want to look at it that way, because that is the team that drafted me, that's the team that took a chance on me. So I would love to be there."

Now, this I liked hearing. Because we want and love him, and it's always nice to know such feelings are reciprocated.

Then, further on he and his agent currently being in talks with the Steelers about a new deal, Wallace said, "Yeah, they're talking. But, I don't know how far they are going to get right now, because you know the situation. I know that they are working trying to get it taken care of and get me done. I know I talk to my coaches and I talk to everybody and I'm positive about the situation. It's just a situation that will have to play itself out. I know they're working hard trying to take care of it, but I don't know. We'll see."

An article recently stated that league sources have told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that there is "real concern" within the Steelers' front office that they could lose Wallace. Ok, slow ya roll. Who are these sources? The only viable "source" in this situation is Kevin Colbert himself.

While Colbert did cite "serious cap issues" in an interview not too long ago. When the offseason began, the Steelers were about $23-$25 million over the salary cap, depending on who was reporting. Now that number is down to about $8 million over.

I'm no salary cap guru, but even I know that there are a few more restructures of players' contracts coming and player cuts coming that will get that number below the salary cap. The cutting of Jonathan Scott, Chris Kemoeatu and Will Allen alone brings the cap number to zero, and probably even puts into the black.

Then add in/take away the money saved by Aaron Smith's retirement, the money saved from the retirement, restructure or cutting of Hines Ward, and the restructure or cutting of James Farrior and Larry Foote, and you have a workable situation. Now there's money for Wallace. You then also know exactly what you have in order to bring back a couple of the aforementioned players at the veteran minimum.

All of that, though, hinges on whether a workable deal can be mutually agreed upon by March 5th.

That raises the question then, "What if a deal can't, though, get done by March 5th?"

That's when the Steelers look seriously at using the Franchise Tag on Mike Wallace. As was covered in a previous blog post, that would mean paying him approximately $13 million with a salary cap hit of $9.4 million. This would carry along with it a first round tender. If someone presents an offer sheet to which Wallace would agree to sign, we'd actually receive that team's first round pick, actually giving us two.

Add to that the, most likely, two seventh round compensatory picks they're sure to receive and there are 10 draft picks for Kevin Colbert and Mile Tomlin over which to salivate.

That, my friends, is your worst-case scenario.

Remember also, in which round was Mike Wallace drafted? For that matter, in which round was Antonio Brown drafted? So, take a step back from the ledge and look and see that the horizon isn't so cloudy after all. No need for "doom and gloom." We simply have to wait and see how much money Mike Wallace needs for his family...and whether or not he's opposed to gold-plating.