Will Pittsburgh Steelers WR Mike Wallace pull a Vincent Jackson this season and sit out? Wallace, a restricted free agent, received no interest from other teams this season. Any team which signed the speedy receiver would have had to surrender a first-round draft selection this year. Wallace has made no bones about the fact that he wants a Larry Fitzgerald-type contract.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Wallace has told some in the Steelers front office that he does not plan to sign his tender “until he has to”. The tender offer from Pittsburgh will net Wallace $2.7 million in 2012. Wallace has until June 15th to sign his offer sheet. If he fails to sign a deal at that time, his salary reverts to $577,500 dollars for 2012. Wallace could pull a Vincent Jackson and sit out the first 10 games of the season in order to protest.
In 2010, Jackson sat out 10 games after the San Diego Chargers placed the franchise tag on the receiver but Jackson wanted a long term deal. Jackson was suspended for four games by the league to start the season, but he sat out the first 10 weeks of the year, returning for the final six in order to gain credit for another year played.
The Steelers have stated that they want to offer Wallace a new long-term deal but during much of the free agency period, Pittsburgh has struggled with salary cap issues.
With the NFL Draft less than four days away, Wallace could be trying to create an issue for the Steelers. Perhaps hoping that if he threatens the club with a holdout, he could leverage a trade to another team which would offer him the long-term, high-dollar contract he desires. However, that strategy might be flawed thinking on Wallaces’ part as he received no interest this free agency period despite being the fact he is a very talented, young receiver.
The best thing for Wallace would be simply showing up to the Steelers camp, playing 2012 and then entering free agency in 2012, then he’ll get his pay day. If he posts another 1200 yard 8-10 touchdown season, he’ll get his Larry Fitzgerald style contract, whether it’s from the Steelers or another team willing to pay.