We’ve been talking about Mike Wallace’s desire for a new long-term contract for so long that it has been hard to remember that there’s actually a deadline of some note rapidly approaching in the wide receiver’s impasse with the Steelers.
If Wallace doesn’t sign his restricted free agent tender by June 15th, the Steelers can slash his salary from $2.742 million to $577,000. That’s suddenly right around the corner, although there hasn’t been much movement on either side with deadline day rapidly approaching. Wallace is skipping OTAs, he isn’t expected to be at the June minicamp and who knows what could transpire from there.
Cornerback Ike Taylor has been in Wallace’s position of looking for a new deal from the Steelers in the past, which gives him the ability to offer some advice to his teammate. Taylor said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, he’s told Wallace he’d like to see him at practice to learn the new offense and cautioned that the Steelers “are not going to let you dictate to them on how you feel.” He also sent Wallace a message about leverage.
“Mike is going to be a Pittsburgh Steeler for years to come,” Taylor said. “(But I told him), at the end of the day: Football doesn’t need you; you need football.”
Assuming the Steelers don’t suddenly and completely reverse course by throwing a contract at his feet, Wallace’s choices at this point are pretty clear. He can sign the tender before it gets slashed, he could sign the deflated version in November so that he accrues a season toward free agency or he can sit out the whole season. Wallace might not like the first of those options, but it certainly seems like the most likely way to get what he wants out of this season.