Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mike Signs Contract, But Mike Doesn't: Latest On Wallace

Anything exciting happen yesterday?

Doesn't take much to get Steeler Nation up in arms, does it? Well, it was dealing with Mike Wallace after all. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, then you must have been under that rock from the Geico commercial. 

Tuesday afternoon, Jim Wexell, of Steel City Insider and Steelers Digest, reported that "Channel 11 [in Pittsburgh] reporting Mike Wallace and Steelers have agreed to 5 yr $42 million contract with $20m guaranteed." In a nutshell, he was wrong. It wasn't long after this that he admitted it as well.

"Apparently 'someone pulled a fast one on me' is what my source is saying. Sorry, no Wallace signing."

He later would apologize again and even poked fun at himself when certain ones in Steeler Nation and, apparently other members of the media, were taking their shots: “@jimwexell: "@BladedWedge I get the feeling that some members of the media are finding joy with @jimwexell getting duped" -- he's not well-liked.”

Another "source" also took blame for the faux pas. His name is Bill P. and he goes by @SteelerBill13 if you're on Twitter. You can also call him and complain. His number is 1-412-... (lol Sorry, Bill...just takin' a jab)

It's easy to understand, though, the heights of elation and then the depths of deflation to which Steeler Nation was sent. This was about the speedy and promising wide receiver whom we can't go a day without hearing about. Young Money. One of the Bugatti Boys. "Da kidd" you'll find "in someone's end zone." Of course it was big news!

Don't get me wrong, though. Mike did sign on the line that is dotted. Mike Tomlin, that is. The Omar Epps look-a-like signed a three-year extension keeping him in Black and Gold through 2016. 

Other notable organizational moves, as reported by Ed Bouchette include the Steelers promoting Omar Khan to Director of Football & Business Administration ("Football" added to title), and the promotion of scout Dan Rooney Jr. to Player Personnel Coordinator. Listed No. 2 behind Colbert in that department.

Back to the main issue, though. Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported, "Looks like mike Wallace isn't going to show. According to Emmanuel Sanders he is expecting him to show in '3 or 4' days."

Hard upon that information, though, came information from both Kaboly and Emmanuel Sanders that there are rumblings in Camp that there might be a contract in place soon. 

Sanders: "I hear things...a couple rumors, that things are starting to get closer to signing." Definitely good news and completely feasible. A deal is not only possible, but easily worked out for a math genius like the aforementioned Omar Khan. 

The Steelers are currently about $6 million under the salary cap with the release of Jonathan Scott. With the probability of a Wallace contract containing a $15 million signing bonus for a 5 year contract, that would break down to approximately a $3 million a year cap hit, plus first year salary, proration of signing bonus for 5 years. Again, easily fits under the cap. 

Now, you might wonder about what would happen if the Steelers are $13-15 million over the cap next year considering Rashard Mendenhall, Antonio Brown and Sanders are due to be up? Trust me, a fair deal could still get done for several reasons. 

First, Lawrence Timmons and Lamarr Woodley can have a good portion of their 2013 base turned into a signing bonus. If they release James Harrison, which I recently blogged as being a real possibility, there is an approximate $7 million saved. Plus, depending on this year's performance, if Mendy should get a new contract it shouldn't have more than a moderate 2013 cap hit.
 
That's most of it right there. Let's say more is needed, though. In the second year of Wallace's contract they could restructure to save cap room by turning a portion of his salary into a signing bonus and then prorate it out over the remaining years. Bottom line: an approximate 5-6 year contract of about $47-$53 million, with that previously mentioned $15 signing bonus, is doable. 

As I've said before, I'm no salary cap guru but I know that this is fairly accurate information because I make sure to pay attention to people like Ian Whetstone of Steel City Insider. 

More information, speculation and drama is sure to surface in the next few days to come. So, just sit back and enjoy the ride.