Mike Wallace Holdout: Why Pittsburgh Steelers Should Not Pay WR Money He Wants
Mike Wallace is continuing to hold out and the Pittsburgh Steelers should continue to allow him to do so because Wallace is not worth the money he's asking for at this point in time.
Wallace has refused to sign his restricted free-agent tender that would pay him $2.7 million in 2012. He clearly wants a long-term deal for job and financial security, but the rumored amount, greater than the eight-year, $120 million deal, he's hoping for is ludicrous.
Recent reports from Yahoo! have indicated that there have been little talks between the organization and representatives for Wallace because the two sides are far apart on how much Wallace is worth.
Wallace is certainly worth more than the $2.7 million he's being paid. Last year, he recorded 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns. It was the second consecutive 1,000-yard season and the second time in a row his yards per catch average has been 16 or higher(2010—21.0; 2011—16.6).
The problem is the Steelers' organization cannot afford to pay Wallace considering the offseason $30 million over the cap and had to make a variety of cuts to simply get under the threshold. Paying Wallace anywhere near what he wants could cripple the franchise for years.
Unfortunately for Wallace, he's essentially replaceable thanks to a couple of other receivers on the roster—Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.
Last season, Brown put up almost identical numbers to Wallace, except in the touchdown category (1,108 yards and two touchdowns, 16.1 average). Sanders would have put up similar numbers as well had he caught as many passes as Wallace.
The emergence of these two players makes Wallace expendable, especially if he continues to have high monetary expectations.
Another element working against Wallace is his inability to run more than a few routes. Granted, he is the most elite deep threat in the NFL—that's essentially all he has shown an ability to do thus far. Investing over $120 million, or more than $15-$18 million per year in a receiver with a limited route tree is a good way to run a franchise into the ground.
Wallace should take the hint from the organization that he's not getting paid. The lockout is doing nothing but hurting him in the long run. He has until November 13 to sign his tender, which allows him to be eligible for free agency next offseason.
While Wallace sits, there is a new offensive coordinator in town, Todd Haley, who is implementing an entirely new offense. Brown and Sanders will be taking first-team snaps throughout training camp as well.
If Wallace's holdout lasts into training camp, he's hurting no one but himself. He will be behind the learning curve of a new offense and have a reduced role because he missed camp.
What Wallace needs to realize is that if the holdout lasts much longer, these elements will lower his statistics in 2012, and he will be facing the same scenario again next offseason. If he has a bad statistical season this year, no team will be willing to pay him the money he desires.
The best course of action for Wallace is to sign his tender and get up to speed in camp. Having another great season will give him a much better chance of seeing the massive money he wants when a bidding war starts for his services in free agency.
In the mean time, the Steelers would be wise to let Wallace continue to hold out. The organization does not have the money, and if it did,Wallace likely would still not be paid. The front office has done an immaculate job of building the roster, and Wallace is expendable.
Let Wallace sit and have a bad season in 2012. It will drive his price down on the free-agent market and give the Steelers a chance to get him back in free agency next offseason at a bargain price. As they say in Pittsburgh, Wallace's holdout is just another example of "next man up."
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