Yesterday, it was reported that the Steelers had signed Antonio Brown to a five year, $42.5 million extension. The extension is a mixed bag of tricks for Steelers fans. It means they’ll retain Brown’s services beyond this season, but it also leaves little room for negotiations with Mike Wallace.
Mike Wallace is set to make $2.7 million via his restricted free agent tender, and he will sign eventually, but that will only cover him through the 2012 season. With Antonio Brown’s future in Pittsburgh now secure, the Steelers may not be willing to pay another receiver top dollar. In other words, this season may be a going away tour for Mike Wallace.
The turn of events that occurred yesterday are somewhat surprising considering that this time last week the Steelers and Wallace were optimistic a deal was close to getting done. Even as late as Tuesday evening, the two sides were optimistic despite the knowledge that Mike Wallace would not be reporting to camp on time.
The Steelers made a great move locking down Brown for the next five years. He’s a great receiver and a stand up guy. Steelers fans should have no shame in applauding the move to avoid another wide receiver standoff next offseason with Brown, but the ramifications may be widespread. The deal leaves less room for Mike Wallace in the future, and it’s beginning to appear as if the Steelers will be letting him walk following the 2012 season.