A short time ago, according to those in the circle in Pittsburgh, the Steelers gave receiver Mike Wallace a contract offer somewhere in the area of $42 million over 5 years. If accepted, the contract would have resolved the fact that Wallace was given a 1st-round restricted free-agent tender, which guarantees him just $2.72 million in the 2012 season.
Wallace was allegedly unimpressed, which is why he’s holding out of the Steelers’ training camp. The team’s reply to the actions of their primary receiver during the past 2 years was basically this: Go on and hold out — we’ll give Emmanuel Sanders your role as the “X” receiver in practice, and we’ll give Antonio Brown, who almost matched your numbers in 2011, your agreement.
And that’s precisely what they did. Last Friday, just 2 days after making their 1st public declarations about Wallace’s holdout during camp, the Steelers signed Brown to that same 5-year, $42.5 million extension. Brown will make the $540,000 he was set to make in 2012 as a part of his rookie agreement, but he’s also got $8 million guaranteed in the new contract. He’ll make $4.5 million in 2013 (base income and roster bonus), and $6 million in base income in 2013 and 2014.
“We are excited to proclaim that Antonio Brown will be with the team through at least the 2017 season,” Steelers GM Kevin Colbert related in an announcement. “He has played a big part in our achievement over the last 2 years and we are thrilled he’s going to be a Steeler for many years to come.”
The agreement keeps Brown under team control the next half-decade, and presents the Steelers with some interesting options. They can wait Wallace out and have him sign his tender whenever, have him sign his tender and trade him to another team happy to give him extra cash (getting a 1st-round pick in return), franchise him, or sign him to a long-term contract after he signs the tender.
These are the hypothetical options, and according to the press, the 3rd and 4th are already off the table. Having given Brown the big contract, Bouchette says, the Steelers have now decided that they won’t be offering Wallace a long term deal. Therefore they can enjoy his services thru the 2012 season and let him walk after, or trade him to a team willing to give up a future 1st-rounder for maybe the best speed receiver in the game. Bouchette also reports that there is not any way the Steelers, who are already tight up against the salary cap, would give Wallace the franchise tag next year.
Brown, who was selected in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL draft out of Central Michigan, was named the team’s MVP in 2011. He went to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner, and became the 1st player in NFL history to assemble over 1,000 receiving yards and over 1,000 return yards in the same season. Basketball spreads