So we'll probably get to the end of this year, franchise him and try to do a DJ deal at that point. He'll probably earn a little more next year with a good season and the cap going up. So he waited. Waiting and having a good season might net him an extra $15M next year from the Steelers imho. Risky? Sure. But worth the wait to Wally? Sure.
Both sides probably see it as a win win. Steelers don't have to pay now. They get time for Brown/Sanders to develop. They can always franchise Wally for a few years and then let him go in a worst case scenario when the other guys are ready. And they keep Wally playing for a contract.
It's a win for Wally. Worst case he gets franchised for a couple years by the Steelers. Likely makes slightly more than he would in a long term contract. And we he does a long term deal with the Steelers or another team, it will be a bigger deal and make him more money. He just has to stay healthy. That's a big risk in the NFL. But I like that he's willing to take it cause it really is in the team's best interest and ours too as fans.