Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee published a story in late March stating that Steelers unsigned restricted free agent receiver Mike Wallace was targeting Larry Fitzgerald money in long-term contract talks. The widely held immediate reaction was that Wallace had overvalued himself. Fitzgerald signed an eight-year, $120 million contract last August. His deal included $50 million guaranteed.
On Friday night, however, Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote that Wallace’s asking price is more in line with the five-year, $55.555 million contract signed by Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson during the spring. Jackson’s deal contains $26 million guaranteed.
And that’s a big difference.
Fitzgerald’s average annual value is $15 million, whereas Jackson’s is a more affordable $11.1 million. And Jackson got a lot less of his value guaranteed.
So while common perception has continued to be that Wallace wants to be paid like Fitz, his monetary demands may not be quite so exorbitant. Wallace is entering his age-26 season and commands heavy defensive attention even when he isn’t catching passes, opening up the field for others. Jackson and Fitzgerald do the same, but they are both 29.
The Steelers are expected to listen to trade offers for Wallace, and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has “guessed” that he might only cost a fourth-round pick. If the monetary price has come down, too, then perhaps a team looking for a playmaker will be willing to pay those costs, and the receiver nicknamed “60 Minutes” will be playing ball in a different locale in 2012.