Mike Wallace contract: New Dolphin will earn big money early

Joe Sargent

Mike Wallace didn't take long to sign with Miami and it's no wonder as he stands to make $30 million during the first two years of his new deal.

Mike Wallace's five-year $60 million deal looked good for Wallace based on the raw numbers, but it looks even better after a closer look at the details of the deal.

Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post has the full details of Wallace's contract and as Volin wrote, Wallace is likely to earn $30 million over the first two years of the deal. Wallace received an $11 million signing bonus and his base salaries of $1 million in 2013 and $15 million in 2014 are both fully guaranteed. Even if Wallace was released after one season or less, he would pocket $27 million.

The Dolphins, however, are unlikely to release Wallace after one season and $3 million of his 2015 base salary becomes guaranteed if he's on the roster by the fifth day of the 2014 league year. If Wallace plays two seasons in Miami he'll earn $30 million. Of the remaining $30 million of Wallace's deal, $27 million is not guaranteed and the other $3 million is only guaranteed for injury.

Assuming he isn't released or restructures the deal, Wallace would earn a base salary of $9.85 million in 2015, $11.45 million in 2016 and $11.45 million in 2017.

The Dolphins are paying out a lot of money in the early years of the deal, but Miami will take only a minimal salary cap hit in 2013. With his low 2013 base salary, Wallace will count for only $3.25 million against the 2013 salary cap. That number spikes a year later as Wallace will count $17.25 million against the 2014 salary cap. If Wallace plays out the rest of the deal as is, he'll count $12.1 million against the 2015 salary cap and $13.7 million against the 2016 and 2017 salary caps.

Barring injury or other unforeseen circumstances, Wallace is a lock to spend at least two seasons in Miami. The deal could function as a two-year contract worth $30 million or a three-year deal worth $39.85 million. The Dolphins wouldn't gain much salary cap space by releasing Wallace after two seasons, but would save roughly $7 million in salary cap space if Wallace was released after the 2015 season.

The deal looks to be very good for Wallace who is guaranteed at least $27 million and would make nearly $40 million during the first three years. If Miami released him after that, he'd hit the market at 29 with a chance to cash in again.

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