Mike Wallace and Ugly Contract Talks That Will Have Major Impact on 2012 Season
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace is seeking a long-term contract after reaching his first Pro Bowl last season, but those negotiations have gone nowhere. The 25-year-old wants to get paid, and the Steelers are balking at his requests.
Wallace is just one of several players whose contract negotiations could run into the 2012 season and have a major impact on the teams they play for. Here is a look at five contract situations that could have an effect on the 2012 season.
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Wide receiver Mike Wallace and the Pittsburgh Steelers just can't agree to play nice. At last report, the two sides had made no progress towards a long-term deal for the 25-year-old receiver.
Wallace caught 72 passes in 2011 for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl as a result of his excellent season, and now he thinks he deserves to get paid. But he is only a restricted free agent this summer, meaning the Steelers only have to pay him the first-round tender they placed on him. That means he is currently slated to play the 2012 season making just $2.7 million.
The Steelers appear to want to sign Wallace long-term, but the deep threat seems to be upset at the lack of progress towards a long-term contract and could be ready to hold out.
This situation could definitely get ugly and is already simmering. The Steelers aren't exactly rich at receiver, and Wallace is one of the best in the NFL. He doesn't deserve to get paid like Larry Fitzgerald, but he certainly deserves more than the $2.7 million he's scheduled to make in 2012.
With no resolution in sight, this one isn't looking good.
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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was not happy that the team slapped the franchise tag on him earlier in the offseason. Now the two sides have struggled to come to terms on a new contract and Brees has already missed OTAs as a result.
Both sides want a deal to get done, so there is no reason to believe they won't work something out. But the fact that it has taken this long is a littler ridiculous. The Saints should really sit Brees down and show him their salary cap numbers and try and work something out that they can afford and he can be happy with.
At 33 years old, Brees is certainly headed for the down side of his career physically. That said, he's also coming off a record-breaking season during which he threw for 5,476 yards and 46 touchdowns while completing 71.2 percent of his passes.
Clearly the Saints need Brees and Brees needs the Saints, but at this point there has been little to suggest the two sides are even approaching a deal.
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When the Chicago Bears hit running back Matt Forte with the franchise team early in the offseason, they committed to paying him $7.7 million in 2012. But that wasn't enough for the 26-year-old running back who wants to work out a long-term deal.
According to Jason La Canfora, the talks between the Bears and Forte on a long-term contract have gone nowhere and it is unlikely the two sides will get a new deal done any time soon.
Forte is likely to hold out from training camp and beyond after not taking that path last season. He has been Chicago's most consistent offensive weapon since he entered the league in 2008. He has seemingly been underappreciated during that time.
The situation between Forte and the Bears has already gotten ugly and doesn't appear to be headed for a resolution any time soon. Don't be surprised if the Tulane product misses games this fall. He has earned a long-term deal, and the Bears don't seem to be ready to cough up the kind of cash he's worthy of.
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Wes Welker has had a record-breaking stretch with the New England Patriots and after getting the franchise tag earlier this offseason, he is set to make $9.515 million in 2012. While Welker wants a long-term contract, there has been little progress in talks with the Patriots, and according to Jason La Canfora, New England appears fine with allowing Welker to play out his one season at $9.5 million.
During his five seasons with the Patriots, Welker has caught 554 passes for 6,103 yards and 31 touchdowns. Those numbers are simply remarkable, and it's no wonder that he thinks he deserves a long-term deal.
With the Patriots seemingly willing to let Welker play out the season under the franchise tag, it looks like things could get ugly in this situation. The receiver believes he has earned a long-term deal, and the numbers suggest that he has as well.
It will be interesting to see if there is any real progress made on this front or if the Pats just simply hold back on giving Welker a deal. As of now it doesn't look like negotiations will go anywhere.
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The Baltimore Ravens hit Ray Rice with the franchise tag at the beginning of the offseason, ensuring that their workhorse back would return in 2012. Both sides are trying to work out a long-term deal but after months of negotiating nothing has been resolved yet.
Of all the deals on this list, the Rice contract is the most likely to get done soon. The Ravens know just how valuable he is to them and after he rushed for a career-high 1,364 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, he has proven himself to be an elite back. Rice also added 76 receptions for 704 yards and three more touchdowns in 2011.
Rice and the Ravens should be able to work out a deal soon, but if they don't this could get very ugly. Especially when you consider that other running backs Marshawn Lynch, Arian Foster and LeSean McCoy have all signed big contracts since the end of last season. Rice is as deserving of anyone in that group of getting a deal.
The Ravens would be wise to wrap up the Rice talks soon and just get a deal that would ensure their franchise cornerstone's happiness for years to come.