Wide receiver Mike Wallace was one of the big winners in free agency, but fans in Pittsburgh have been ripping the fifth-year pro for only caring about money when he signed a five-year, $60 million deal with the Miami Dolphins.
Wallace's father has gone public stating that isn't the case. In fact, according to dad, if Wallace was all about the Benjamins he'd be playing quite a bit farther north.
As Jim Corbett of USA Today reports, Mike Wallace III maintains that there was a much larger offer on the table from the Minnesota Vikings. That deal reportedly topped out at an eye-popping $76 million.
Now, before we go any farther, there's a couple of important facts that need to be taken into consideration.
First, we don't know how much of that hypothetical $76 million was guaranteed, and in the NFL that's all that really matters. The total amount of a contract in the National Football League is like a promise from a politician. They sound good and all, but at the end of the day they don't really mean anything.
The guaranteed money is like what that politician actually accomplishes. It's the only thing that's concrete, and it's generally a lot less than what was originally promised.
The Dolphins guaranteed half of Wallace's deal ($30 million). That's a much higher percentage than Greg Jennings got from the Vikings in free agency this year. According to Josh Katzowitz of CBS Sports, Jennings' $45 million deal contains $18 million (40 percent) in guarantees.
Still, 40 percent of $76 million is $30.4 million, so using that math it would appear that Wallace walked away from nearly half a million bucks, right?
See, the state of Florida has no income tax. Let's say that $15 million of that guaranteed money will be taxable in Florida, since Wallace plays half his games there (at least). According to TaxRates.org, the rate on that level of income in Minnesota is 7.85 percent.
So, on that $15 million, Jennings is effectively "saving" $1,177,500 in taxes.
Of course, according to what Wallace told Corbett the money was far from his only consideration:
I performed so well for so long, I just wanted to be well compensated. I feel I got a bad rep. Free agency paid off for me. But it was bittersweet. The money is not all I'm in it for. I want to be a great player—win Super Bowls, go to Pro Bowls continuously.
The wisdom of signing with Miami over Minnesota (or Pittsburgh) may be debatable if Wallace really wants to win Super Bowls, but the fact that free agency paid off for him can't really be argued.
Wallace's deal was larger than the contracts given to Jennings and Dwayne Bowe (five years, $56 million), and as the following chart shows it compares favorably to the deal of just about every highly paid receiver in the NFL not named Calvin Johnson.
Not bad for a wideout who barely cracked 800 receiving yards last year.
So settle down, Pittsburgh fans. Let's be realistic. The Steelers weren't going to make an offer that was even in the ballpark of what Wallace got in Miami, especially after extending Antonio Brown last year.
And take a chill pill, Viking backers. If you peel back the curtain there isn't much difference between $76 million and $60 million (at least in the part of the deal that matters), and the weather in South Florida makes for one lulu of a tiebreaker.
As a matter of fact, if anyone has a right to feel "jilted", it's a certain former ball boy for the Vikings.
All these new contracts for wide receivers are starting to make Larry Fitzgerald look underpaid.