I wouldn’t ordinarily bother talking about a quirk in the contract of a former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver, but since that former Ravens wide receiver also happens to be a prominent former member of the Pittsburgh Steelers—and since it’s rather amusing—I thought I would indulge myself today.
You may have actually heard about it, but former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace has a weight-based incentive in his new contract—and it’s absurd. He will receive a bonus of $585,000 if he weighs under 250 pounds. Today.
Wallace spent two seasons with the Ravens from 2016 to 2017 before signing a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this offseason, his fifth team since the Steelers drafted him in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft. His deal is worth up to $2.5 million while factoring in incentives, and obviously some of those incentives are rather easy.
Wallace never has and probably never will weigh 250 pounds in his life. In fact, he is listed as under 200 pounds. It’s rather obvious that the incentive was a deliberate way of accounting for a select portion of his salary at a different time against the salary cap. There would be no purpose behind it beyond that.
Wallace essentially replaces another former Ravens wide receiver as a deep threat for the Eagles’ offense. Philadelphia was going to release Torrey Smith before they managed to trade him for cornerback Daryl Worley. You may have heard that as of yesterday, that particular trade did not end up working out so well.
But the former Steeler has done well for himself over the years. While he might have been overshadowed by the unheralded sixth-round pick that the team selected in the draft class after his, Wallace has still managed to put up some numbers and make his money.
In all, he has earned nearly $55 million in his career, though he could have earned even more. After he left the Steelers once he hit unrestricted free agency, he signed a five-year contract that was worth $60 million, a hefty sum at that time though vastly overshadowed by the deep inflation of the wide receiver market since then.
He did not complete that contract, getting traded after two seasons and then released after one more season with his third team. From the Miami Dolphins to the Minnesota Vikings, he finally came to the Ravens in 2016, where he had a bit of a renaissance.
Over the course of his nine-year career, he has only ever missed two games, recording 538 receptions for 8072 yards and 57 touchdowns. His best seasons came all the way back in 2010 with the Steelers when he caught 60 passes for 1257 yards and 10 touchdowns.
And now he will earn more than half a million today just by not going out of his way to become grossly out of shape. Would that we all had comically easy weight-based incentives in our contracts.