Monday, July 16, 2012

Antwaan Randle El Follows Kordell Stewart's Footsteps; Mike Wallace Update

First Kordell Stewart, and now Antwaan Randle El. The second former Steelers wide receiver/quarterback/rusher in almost as many months to announce his retirement. I fully expect to hear of Mark Malone's announcement of his retiring as a Steeler player any day now.

My first thought when I heard about this back on July 6th? "Ya mean he isn't already?" He then announced officially Monday, July 16th. Ok.



 
Look, I appreciate all that Randle El did for the Steelers. He was, in a sense, the second coming of "Slash." He returned kicks and punts, was a serviceable wide receiver, ran the ball on occasion and also played quarterback. There, as a matter of fact, is where his memory shall be closely guarded. As El is the only wide receiver in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl. (Something for which Steelers fans will be eternally grateful.) -http://t.co/JbAR9AyN

It's just that I don't know why a wide receiver who had 370 receptions, 4,467 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns (21 total when adding returns) in nine total years feels the need to "announce" his retirement. Or am I too cynical?

The next stage of El's life will apparently be in broadcasting, as he’s going to work for the Big Ten Network as well as some preseason work with the Washington Redskins. Being that he's a very intelligent and articulate man, I'm sure he'll do very well in this next endeavor.

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On Saturday, ESPN posted that the Pittsburgh Steelers are confident that a deal for Mike Wallace will be reached soon. I thought it over and, since we can't go a day without hearing about the speedy wide receiver, I decided to jot a few thoughts down. There is enough wiggle room to garner such confidence, but will we see it come to fruition?

The Steelers could afford a salary cap hit of about $4 million or so in 2012. As was noted in a previous blog, the current numbers show the Steelers at $3.73 million under the cap. A deal for Wallace could be written in such a way so that it could be restructured in the next couple of years, a la Timmons and Woodley. The thing, therefore, to concentrate on in this or any contract reached is the true guaranteed amount, not the total average per year of the agreement. For instance, the actual value of Vincent Jackson's deal is $13 million over each of the first two years. That's it. Despite all those fives, it's a 2-year, $26 million deal.

So, while I have faith that Omar Khan could make the numbers work, it's a question of whether they're numbers that the Steelers are interested in paying. Though it could be structured various ways, you'd be looking at $11 million a season no matter how much smoke there is and no matter how strategically the mirrors are placed.

The good thing is that Wallace already counts $2.74 against the 2012 cap as it is. Sign him to a long deal and that will go away. Cut Jonathan Scott and another $2 million plus ($2.2M?) is freed up. There's almost $5 million right there, the amount for the salary cap hit mentioned earlier. So, albeit very tight and full of Chinese arithmetic, it's possible. The question is whether it's probable.