Steelers wideout Antonio Brown has signed a new 5-year, $42m extension through 2017 with $8m guaranteed, similar to the offer Mike Wallace was reportedly given. Brown’s salaries are now locked in at $540,000 in 2012, $4.5m in 2013, $6m each in 2014 and 2015.
Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette originally said on NFL Network yesterday that it wouldn’t be smart for what he considered to be a smart Steelers organization to trade Mike Wallace. He now believes Wallace might be traded during the preseason, tweeting that the Steelers no longer believe they can sign Mike long term.
The tricky hold-ups for a trade would be the Larry Fitzgerald-level money (8-year deal for $120m) Wallace wants from a new team, and the pick a team would give in return.
As absolutely insane as it may sound – with bratty ex-Steeler Santonio Holmes already in tow and rookie Stephen Hill making a lot of highlight grabs and showing physicality at the press -, I would think the Jets might be one of the only teams willing to make a deal, if they would part with Antonio Cromartie, thus opening up some money to pay Wallace. If there is one position of need on the Steelers, it is probably corner. A team like the Redskins (Morgan, Hankerson, or Briscoe), Seahawks (Tate or Rice but not Baldwin), or Broncos (Thomas or Decker) would be able to send a receiver back to the Steelers for Wallace. However, how quickly is Wallace going to pick up the playbook?
In reality, what makes a trade unlikely and Wallace signing his $2.72m tender most likely is that there truly are a lot of great receivers in the league now. Just last season, Julio Jones, Torrey Smith, Greg Little, A.J. Green, and Doug Baldwin all looked varying degrees of great as rookies.
As for a Wallace replacement, NFL Films’ Greg Cosell told Yahoo!: ”What Mike Wallace brings to the table, which very few guys in the NFL do, is pure, pure speed. He may be the fastest receiver in the entire league. You’re concerned about that, because you miss that element. No defensive coordinator wants to give up 60-yard touchdowns — that’s just the way it works. Can Brown or Sanders be that guy? Probably not, in terms of lifting off the coverage like that. But a guy like Antonio Brown could be a very good ‘X’ receiver in time. He’s a terrific receiver who will only get better.”
Weighing the importance of the wideout position against the easiness with which the Steelers and others have found great ones, I’d rate the panic level among Steelers fans to be a 5. What do you think?