Patience Is a Virtue When It Comes to Mike Wallace, Steelers Contract Talks
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Contract talks between the Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver Mike Wallace have slowed to a halt as training camp approaches, making the likelihood of Wallace's holdout continuing into camp even greater. Though negotiations should heat up once we're a week away from the Steelers starting their yearly stand at St. Vincent College, the two sides may not find a solution that works for both.
But that's fine. Really.
Every year, players hold out, miss OTAs, minicamps and training camps, and sometimes, these holdouts continue into the regular season. This won't be the case with Wallace—he may miss some of, or even all of camp, but when it comes time for that Week 1 contest against the Denver Broncos, he'll almost certainly be on the field.
The Steelers gave Wallace a $2.7 million first-round tender offer earlier this offseason, one he has not yet signed. The team had the option, in June, to reduce that amount down to around $700,000, but opted not to do so—this is a negotiation, after all, not an opportunity for the Steelers to humiliate or punish Wallace for asking for a long-term contract.
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At $2.7 million in 2012, Wallace is one of the most underpaid receivers in the league this year and certainly does not reflect the contributions he's made to the Steelers' offense in the last two seasons. The Steelers know this and will try to get a deal done before camp if possible—and with just over $3 million left in cap space, they could, but it really depends on what it is exactly that Wallace is looking for.
The Steelers have more than just Wallace to consider when extending him a contract offer. There's still the matter of Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown becoming restricted free agents at the end of the season, a salary cap that is going to remain flat in 2013 and the fact that a number of higher-paid Steelers have repeatedly restructured their contracts, with that money starting to come due.
Add all this up, and it's easy to see why no progress between Wallace and the Steelers has been made. And it's easy to see how this could result in Wallace's absence from training camp.
How worried are you about Mike Wallace's holdout?
This year is a bit different for Wallace and the rest of the Steelers offense. They have a new offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, and thus a new playbook. With Wallace yet to meet with Haley or work with his fellow players on the field, he has some catching up to do, and this prospect does engender a bit of worry.
However, Wallace knows this, the Steelers know this, and for now, neither side is in panic mode. These negotiations and holdouts are, unfortunately, an integral part of the business of the NFL, and while things seem to progressing slowly (or not at all), something will happen that results in Wallace rejoining his team for the start of the regular season.
So for now, this issue remains simmering on the back burner—there will be no boil-overs, there's no pressure cooker about to burst.
At some point, there will be a resolution, and even if that doesn't come in time for training camp, it's not a major deal. With the issue solely in the hands of Wallace, his agent, Bus Cook, and the Steelers brass, there's nothing the rest of us can do but wait. And that patience will pay off for all parties involved.
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