Word came out of training camp this afternoon, per Ed Bouchette of the PIttsburgh Post Gazette that the Steelers are going to suspend any further contract talks with wide receiver Mike Wallace until he signs his one year tender and reports to camp. You knew this was coming sooner or later because the Steelers are not a team that will be bullied into a deal they aren’t comfortable no matter what your name is or how valuable you think you are.
This is what we’ve been talking about here on SteelerAddicts in the blog, the forums, and on the podcasts ever since this whole thing with Wallace started. Just sign your contract, get yourself to the offseason workouts, show up to camp on time, and the Rooney’s will make good on their word to get you a new deal. Kevin Colbert has been quoted many times this offseason that they want to get Mike Wallace a long term deal and make sure he retires in Pittsburgh. The rumored amounts of the money he’s asking for are of course in the $120 million range but that amount has never been confirmed by anyone from the Wallace camp or the Steelers.
To this point though, Wallace and his agent, Bus Cook have refused to back down and now with camp starting today and #17 being a no show, the Steelers took matters into their own hands even more and pulled back to put the pressure squarely on the Wallace to show up. Every day of missing camp will put him further behind than he is already
It’s one thing to be in great shape in the offseason but football shape is different as everyone knows. Plus there’s the fact of getting his timing back with Ben Roethlisberger and learning the new offense.
In the mean time, Emmanuel Sanders said at camp today shortly after reporting to St. Vincent College that he will play the “x” receiver spot until Wallace shows up.
Here is the article from Bouchette:
Mike Wallace took another stand when he did not report to training camp on time, and now apparently the Steelers will take one of their own as the contract impasse between the two sides takes a new turn.
The Steelers will suspend negotiations on a multiple-year contract until Wallace signs his one-year tender and reports to the team, a club source said. As a restricted free agent, Wallace was offered a one-year contract worth $2.472 million last March but he remains the only RFA in the NFL who has not signed.
Wallace, who made the Pro Bowl in his third season last year, cannot practice until he is under contract, either by signing the one-year tender or by signing another contract offered by the team that has now been basically rescinded.
The stance of ending negotiations for a holdout has been taken by the team before, most recently when Hines Ward held out for the first two weeks of the 2005 training camp. However, Ward had one year left on his contract at the time and was pressing for a new one. After ending his holdout, negotiations resumed and he received a four-year extension three weeks later.
Steelers president Art Rooney II declined comment on the situation Wednesday during a press conference to formally announce the signing of first-round draft choice David DeCastro. In June, Rooney told the Post-Gazette, regarding Wallace’s absence from all spring activities, “He should be here.”