Around this time last year, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace said that he deserved to be given a contract similar to wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Both Johnson and Fitzgerald received eight-year deals worth $132 million and $120 million respectively.
After recording only two 1,000-yard seasons, Wallace opted not to report to the Steelers’ training camp and sign a $2.7 million tender offer last offseason. The four-year veteran also reportedly turned down a $50 million deal during that time as well. Wallace eventually signed the tender, and followed that up with a decline in production on the field in 2012.
I guess since he feels that his numbers dropped, he should lower his asking price. Now Wallace is saying that he should get a contract similar to Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson.
Prior to the 2012 season, Jackson signed a five-year, $55.55 million deal with the Buccaneers.
After looking at the numbers of both Wallace and Jackson over the past four years, one can make an argument of why Wallace should get a contract similar to Jackson’s. Since 2009, both receivers have put up virtually the same receiving statistics. Wallace’s stat line (235 receptions, 4,042 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 17.2 yards per catch) and Jackson’s numbers (214 receptions, 3,905 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 18.2 yards per catch) over this time span are impressive.
However, despite the nearly identical stats, I feel that there are two reasons why Jackson is a better receiver. Therefore, I think that Wallace isn’t worth a similar contract.
One reason is that during this four-year span, Jackson had one season where he didn’t play the majority of the season. In 2010, while with the San Diego Chargers, Jackson was suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. In addition to that, Jackson sat out the first 10 weeks of the regular season due to a contract dispute. Jackson only played five games that year.
Had he played the entire season, I’m sure that his numbers during this time period would have exceeded Wallace’s.
The other reason is because I think that Jackson is a more complete receiver than Wallace is. Jackson can be depended upon as a deep threat, as well as a possession receiver. Wallace’s success on the field is solely dependent upon his ability to catch the long ball. Once Wallace adds to his repertoire, then maybe he’ll convince me that he is worthy of Vincent Jackson money (or even Calvin Johnson/Larry Fitzgerald money).
Regardless of how I feel, I still think that a team will decide to cough up the money that Wallace wants simply because of his age, 26, and his speed. It definitely won’t be the Steelers. Right about now, it’s looking more like the Miami Dolphins or the Cleveland Browns will be one of the teams willing to pay top dollar for the speedy receiver.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google