If the latest move by the Pittsburgh Steelers doesn’t open the eyes of wide receiver Mike Wallace, nothing will. The Steelers just signed wide receiver Antonio Brown to a five-year contract extension worth $42.5 million, a contract that will keep Brown in the Steel City through the 2017 season.
Brown had a breakout year last season making the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career as a return specialist. The third-year veteran also was the first player in NFL history to amass 1,000 yards in both receiving and kick/punt returns in the same season, and was named Pittsburgh’s team MVP.
All this week, general manager Kevin Colbert has drawn a line in the sand by letting Wallace know that a chance for his long-term deal will not come until he reports to training camp and sign his restricted free-agent tender of $2.7 million.
With the extension of Brown’s contract, the ultimatum given to Wallace, and Colbert’s disregard of the previous offers that were given to Wallace, it should now be completely clear to Wallace that the Steelers are prepared and willing to move on without him.
Wallace and Brown had almost identical receiving statistics in 2011 (Wallace with 72 receptions for 1,193 yards and Brown with 69 receptions for 1,108 yards). The only glaring difference was Wallace’s eight touchdowns versus Brown’s two. However, the thing that does stand in Brown’s favor is that he seems to be the better all-around receiver. Brown is a better possession receiver and a better route runner.
Brown may not have the blazing speed of Wallace, but it’s good enough to be a Pro Bowl return man. One other thing that Brown has that Wallace doesn’t is a giant, long-term contract. If this doesn’t get Wallace to Latrobe, PA by the beginning of next week, nothing will.
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