DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08: Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs the ball for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Sometimes, blunt is best.
Steelers president Art Rooney II put it bluntly and simply, according to Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette.
"He should be here." ot much elaboration needed on that, if you want to find out how ownership views the contract spat between them and the Pro Bowl receiver.
The Steelers oftentimes ask players who are seeking contract extensions to negotiate in good faith, and part of that is attending all mandatory team functions, like the minicamp currently underway in Pittsburgh.
Wallace skipped the first two sessions, and is very likely to stay away today as well. The Steelers can reduce the restricted free agency tender offered to Wallace from $2.7 million to $577,000 by Friday if he does not sign it.
Nothing seems to suggest either Wallace will sign it, or the team will exercise their right to reduce it (negotiating in good faith, once again).
The real issue is whether Wallace will attend training camp, which would be his absolute final card to play. If he doesn't attend training camp, the Steelers are likely to completely cut off negotiations, and prepare for the season. Wallace has until Week 10 to report to the team without losing an accrued season, which would land him in the same position next season.
Considering the Steelers' recent track record of giving players extensions during camp, if a team will be reached, it seems like that would be the time it will happen. Since Wallace is likely able to command a contract north of $30 million guaranteed (like the one Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson signed this off-season), and the lack of a deal suggests the Steelers aren't interested in paying him that kind of money, the two sides are at an impasse.
The most likely outcome is he signs his 1-year tender deal for $2.7 million, plays this season out and hits the open market next year, assuming the Steelers do not place the franchise tag on the fourth-year player. That would pay Wallace around $10 million guaranteed for 2013 - a hefty price to pay.