More often than not, the biggest determining factor in someone accepting a job offer is about the money. It’s not always the only factor, no, but it’s usually the biggest one. At least in professional sports.
Every year, you hear athletes talk about finding “the right fit” in their cliche stock answers. Rarely do you hear players talk about signing with a team because they simply offered the most money, even though that’s often the case.
Of course, there are exceptions.
Money was NOT the biggest determining factor for Mike Wallace when he officially signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
During his introductory press conference on Friday, the 31-year-old wide receiver spoke candidly about how he turned down more lucrative offers in order to try to win.
Q: Were other teams interested in you?
WALLACE: I had a lot of options, honestly. It was only a few teams that I wanted to go to. I passed up on other opportunities with more money. But that wasn’t my focus. My focus was to try to get myself the best chance to chance at a high level and get to the championship. Obviously, they’re the Super Bowl champs here. They have a locker room, a strong culture that’s ready to go. I can just step in and try and play a role and whatever the team needs me to do, [I’ll] go out and compete.
Like I said, I had other options, but I wanted the best chance. And I felt like this way my best opportunity to make a run. This is my 10th year. I can’t play this game forever. So you don’t want to come out feeling empty. I want to get myself a ring. Like I said, this team is ready to go. It’s going to have to be a lot of hard work to get back to where they were, but at the same time, I heard a lot of great things about the group of guys that’s ready to work. I’m just trying to fall in line.
Wallace continued to echo this sentiment throughout his presser.
Q: What did you learn about free agency from going through it before?
WALLACE: It’s not all about money. Every time. But when I’m young, I’m going to get the money, I can’t lie to you. But now in my 10th year, my mom’s good, my girl’s good, my family’s good. So at this point, it’s about me, and trying to win, and be a champion. Like I said, when you’re young, you have a different agenda. I didn’t try to come into this game to leave empty-handed. I had to secure the bag. And I did that. So now it’s time to secure a ring.
Wallace’s career earnings prior to signing a $2.5 million deal with the Eagles was $53,027,500. So, yeah, he’s done decent for himself to this point.
But he doesn’t have a ring. He went to the Super Bowl with the Steelers in the second-year of his career in 2010. But Pittsburgh lost that matchup and he’s only played in two playoff games since then.
Another big reason why Wallace signed with the Eagles is the presence of Carson Wentz.
Q: How much did getting to play with Carson Wentz factor in to your decision?
WALLACE: 99 percent. 99. The other one percent was the rest of the team. I just look at it, man, I’m impressed by the way he plays football. The way he moves in the pocket. The way he throws the football. And just [his] competitiveness. You can see it. Last year, we had those guys down [in Baltimore], not this past season, the year before last, and they just keep fighting. I saw what he had. I saw the team. Honestly, going into that game, I thought we were going to blow them out. They were a young team. But the quarterback was playing crazy and guys was making plays. You saw they were competitive. But I didn’t see this coming. And last year, I just watched him throughout the year. You seen the team grow in a way where they were just putting up points and it was exciting.
Wallace further explained the impact of Wentz on his decision in an interview with Dave Spadaro for PhiladelphiaEagles.com.
This decision didn’t come overnight. I had to sleep on it and think about it. We’ve been in talks for weeks. But at the same time, it was just like, I don’t want to rush. I want to make sure this feels like the right situation for me. And just talking with some of my friends and family, especially my friends though, I have a lot of … I know a lot of guys who’ve played football, who I’ve played with. And just telling them about my different situations, options. They was like: ‘Carson.’ All you would see was ‘Carson. Carson. Carson.’ And I’m talking like legit guys who, guys who, Hall of Fame guys. Everyone’s coming back with the same answer: ‘Carson. Carson. Carson. Carson.’ He’s a special guy, man. You can just see the arm and the athleticism and the work ethic. So, like I said, I just want to be a part of it. Just come in and do whatever I can to help the team win.
It’s crazy to think that Wentz already has this kind of respect when he’s only about to enter his third year in the league.
It’s pretty cool, actually.
It’s also pretty cool how the Eagles have been able to use their Super Bowl champion status to attract veterans who want to chase a ring. Being a destination team allows them to more easily work around their tight cap situation.
For further proof that Wallace wasn’t just all about the money, just look at what other free agent wide receivers got paid this offseason. List via Rotoworld:
Wallace is making half as much as John Brown. Wallace has 949 more yards and three more touchdowns than Brown in the past two seasons.
Wallace is making the same amount of money as the New York Giants gave to Cody Latimer. Cody Latimer has 445 receiving yards in his four-year career COMBINED. Wallace had 748 yards last year alone. Wallace’s single-season low for receiving yards, 473 in 2015, was still more than Latimer’s total career yardage.
Wallace is making the same amount of money as the Dallas Cowboys gave to Deonte Thompson. The 29-year-old Thompson was released by the Bears at one point last season. And Chicago had one of the worst receiving corps in the league. Think 2016 Eagles level bad.
In other words, the Eagles signed a legitimate offensive weapon for what two of their NFC East rivals each paid to acquire fringe talents.
To be fair, Wallace wasn’t an option for them.
Because, you know, he wanted to sign a team with an actual good quarterback and a Super Bowl caliber roster.