With the period for restricted free agency movement concluded, and with no restricted free agents signing offer sheets with new teams, those who have yet to sign tender offers from their current teams must decide when and if to do so.
Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, the highest-profile restricted free agent without a contract, reportedly doesn’t plan to do so any time soon.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Wallace has told some within the organization that he doesn’t plan to accept the one-year, $2.7 million tender offer “until he has to.”
The question becomes when does he have to?
As Schefter points out, the CBA allows the Steelers on June 15 to withdraw the tender and replace it with an offer equal to 110 percent of his 2011 base salary, which for Wallace would equate to $577,000.
Still, he could hold out even longer, skipping training camp and the preseason and up to 10 weeks of the regular season. At that point, he could sign the tender, receive the prorated base salary under the $577,000 tender (i.e., $237,000), and then become an unrestricted free agent (subject to the franchise or transition tag) in 2013.
Wallace ultimately must ask himself if it’s worth giving up more than 90 percent of the current tender in order to exert maximum leverage toward a long-term deal now — and to expose himself to minimal injury risk before putting himself in position to achieve a major payday. The manner in which he balances these competing considerations will directly influence his assessment of the day on the calendar that equates to “until he has to.”