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Steelers could use Wallace’s “X” receiver spot against him

Mike Tomlin Pic Getty Images

New Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s recent “X” receivers have had a great deal of success. In Dallas, Terrell Owens was Haley’s X wideout. In Arizona, it was Larry Fitzgerald. In Kansas City, Dwayne Bowe.

The Steelers want Mike Wallace to be Haley’s latest X receiver, but Wallace isn’t in camp. His training camp holdout became official Wednesday when Wallace didn’t report to team headquarters in a timely manner. Wallace wants a new contract, and is refusing to sign his one-year, $2.472 million tender. The Steelers are now saying they won’t negotiate with Wallace until he caves.

In the meantime, usual slot guy Emmanuel Sanders will practice in Wallace’s X receiver spot. And coach Mike Tomlin says the Steelers will focus on Sanders’ development until something gives with Wallace.

“What I’m going to do is work with Emmanuel Sanders because he’s here, and be excited about doing it,” Tomlin told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Should Wallace’s holdout last especially long, it will be interesting to see whether the Steelers begin giving Antonio Brown reps at the featured X receiver position. Brown played well enough down the stretch last year — statistically outproducing Wallace — that there is some feeling Brown might develop into Pittsburgh’s best receiver.

And the Steelers could send another message to Wallace by giving his position in the new offense to a player who did report to camp, and who possesses quite a bit of talent in his own right.

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18 Responses to “Steelers could use Wallace’s “X” receiver spot against him”
  1. greglloydrules says: Jul 26, 2012 9:46 AM

    You still have something to prove Mike. You don’t get paid when you’re someone who can be easily replaced by another speed receiver. Grow up man. I really hope you’re paying attention cause Brown and Sanders are gonna love playing without you.

  2. razzlejag says: Jul 26, 2012 9:55 AM

    What’s the deal- can they fine him 30K/day for missing training camp? I don’t quite understand his contract situation.

    Jones-Drew can be fined by the Jags b/c he is signed for 2 more years but can Wallace be fined in the situation he’s in?

    Razz

  3. napoleonblownapart6887 says: Jul 26, 2012 9:55 AM

    I really want to see Mike Wallace in camp and with the Steelers for the long haul, but I do feel comfortable going into the season with Brown and Sanders (provided Sanders stays healthy) starting, Cotchery, Clemons, and maybe even Rainey coming in behind them.

  4. tommy57 says: Jul 26, 2012 9:57 AM

    Seems management holds all the cards in this labor dispute. Wallace should realize this. To me, a protracted holdout only decreases his ‘stock’ for future negotiations (be it with Pittsburgh or elsewhere).

  5. brenenostler says: Jul 26, 2012 9:58 AM

    Bet the Steelers are wishing they’d re-signed Hines Ward now.

  6. troy43mvp says: Jul 26, 2012 10:12 AM

    Wallace can’t afford to holdout for too long for financial reasons but also because if he wants a long term deal he needs to concentrate on being the #1 reciever on the team. It’s not an easy thing to do with Antonio Brown stepping up and out performing Wallace the 2nd half of the season lat year. Right now Brown is the one improving his football chemistry with Big Ben!

  7. dr3000 says: Jul 26, 2012 10:41 AM

    Suck it up and get your butt to work Wallace. If you really think you are worth Fitzgerald money, than put up his numbers.

  8. holeinone09 says: Jul 26, 2012 10:44 AM

    I think at some point they will agree to a mutually acceptable deal. Steelers hold the cards, and Wallace really is not worth what he is asking. He is very talented, but not at the Fitz or Megatron level. So after he gets antsy from waiting, he will come in to camp, and they will work something out. But if not, life goes on for the Steelers like it always does.

  9. mdcards4life says: Jul 26, 2012 10:48 AM

    Wallace might as well sign his tender and play out the yr. he is good as gone next yr, i doubt the steelers will franchise him.

  10. ziggy26 says: Jul 26, 2012 10:49 AM

    The Steelers cannot fine Wallace $30K per day like the Jags are doing with MJD, because Wallace is not under contract. He has yet to sign his tender, so he’s still a free agent (although he’s restricted).

  11. ravenator says: Jul 26, 2012 11:54 AM

    This is so awesome

  12. tedmurph says: Jul 26, 2012 11:57 AM

    Why would wallace sign his tender and play for 2.7 mil while risking injury. He can just come in by wk 10, get 1.2 prorated from the 2.7, get his accrued yr and walk for nothing next offseason. Even if he doean’t get LFitz $(which he shouldn’t), he’s looking at a VJackson type contract at least( 5yrs/55mil/26 guranteed). He should risk coming in and playing for the steelers so he doesn’t lose 1.5 mil? Or because it’s such a privelage?

  13. cliverush says: Jul 26, 2012 2:35 PM

    Wallace should use the opportunity this year to play for a great coaching staff along with a QB who is tough and will take a serious hit to get you the ball. Put up the numbers this year then you can cash in elsewhere. WR’s are a common item in the NFL. You won’t get a second chance.

  14. dachozen1 says: Jul 26, 2012 10:46 PM

    Everyone has an opinion on what Mike should do. Mike should do what he feels best. As a Steeler guy, I’d like to see him n Black n Gold. The question is does he want to be here. They will work out something “reasonable” for both parties if he wants to be here. I put him in the 2nd tier of receivers with him and Desean Jackson at the top. It would be nice to see him come to camp and work out something yesterday. Otherwise, it would be nice to see him chase the money and go to another team. Maybe he doesnt care about championships like very few players do. He feels like this is his 1 in a lifetime chance to get this money for him and family. I hope he gets what he wants even if it is with another team. I dont think anybody will break the bank. He doesnt have T.O. , Randy Moss, Fitz, Megatron or Andre Johnson type talent. I’m curious to see…

  15. andrewproughcfe says: Jul 26, 2012 11:40 PM

    “that there is some feeling Brown might develop into Pittsburgh’s best receiver”

    ===========

    Brown already HAS developed into the best, most dependable, and most exciting receiver on the team. And Sanders should finally be free from his foot injuries that plagued him last year – don’t be surprised to see him make everyone forget about Wallace if he decides not to show up. In their rookie season, Sanders was widely considered to have better overall skills and aptitude for the position than Brown, and saw the field much earlier that year than Antonio.

  16. dumbaseinstien says: Jul 27, 2012 1:00 AM

    @ tedmurph says: Jul 26, 2012 11:57 AM

    “Why would wallace sign his tender…”
    _____________________________________

    Any receiver is only as good as the QB throwing to him & the team surrounding him. I can’t wait to see V. Jac’s numbers plummet this year as a result of a mediocre QB throwing his way! In Pittsburgh, Mike is guaranteed great money, great stats & ultimately a chance at his own greatness with a team that perpetually makes it too the playoffs. Almost anywhere else he may go, he is only guaranteed a paycheck & not enough to offset the extra money that players make in the playoffs or the endorsements that come with great stats on one of the most popular teams. He is delirious if he thinks he can find something better than what he has in front of him right now!

  17. tedmurph says: Jul 27, 2012 11:20 AM

    You’rer confusing your dreams for Wallace’s. Whatever VJack’s numbers are he still gets his guaranteed 26 mil. While some players will take a little less or a home town discount for a better chance at a ring, for most it’s mostly about the money. There are plenty of receivers who have put up good numbers and gotten to Pro Bowls with bad QBs on bad teams. LFitz, BMarshall, SSmith for example. As for playoff bonuses, it’s peanuts. If you get to the SB and win, you max out @ about 160k. I don’t live in Pitts, but I sincerely doubt Wallace has made significant endorsement $. Wallace already has the stats to get a big payday next yr and continue his Pro Bowl performances. Pittsburgh has guaranteed him nothing, except 2.7 mil. He may have a different contender as a suitor. He doesnt need the steelers and the 1.5 mil before wk 10 for that.

  18. dumbaseinstien says: Jul 29, 2012 8:04 PM

    @ Tedmurph

    Simply put, you’re wrong.

    First) The guaranteed money V. Jax has is about the exact same as the Steelers offered him last week & he rejected it, expecting a Fitz type contract…which is no where near in the cards for Wallace.

    Second) SB wins top out at about 178k (in 2012, gets larger every year). But that doesn’t factor in income generated in the 3-4 playoff games which also generates Bonus cash for players. Also, each player has incentives in their contracts (Separate from Bonus’) that are “kicked in” if the team makes the playoffs or if a player hits certain individual goals. In other words, V.Jax contract of $55 M is only worth that much if he hits ALL the top incentives. If the Bucs don’t make the playoffs, then he doesn’t make nearly that much (or the bonus cash).

    Third) I can assure you endorsements are presented to players on Teams like the Steelers who have a HUGE fan base & are perpetually in the playoffs. Endorsements are going to be less available on a team with a smaller fan base.

    4th) The Steelers hold all the cards. Mike isn’t a Free Agent yet & his agents advising him as such have their own interests at heart rather than his. His career is going to sink faster listening to them.

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