PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 24: Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes a catch against Josh Gordy #38 of the St. Louis Rams during the game on December 24, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers won 27-0. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Speculation often takes on a life of its own. It's not that information is intentionally reported falsely, it's just the cliche game of telephone. "John is sitting on the right" turns into "John is standing over there with a cup of coffee purple monkey dishwasher."
In digging through stories regarding Steelers WR Mike Wallace, who has until today to sign his restricted free agency tender before the Steelers have the right to reduce it from $2.7 million to $577,000, I came across two main themes; One, everyone seems comfortable in suggesting the Steelers won't exercise that right, and two, no one confirms with the Steelers that's the case.
Until Thursday, that is.
The Tribune-Review noted Steelers GM Kevin Colbert's appearance on Mark Madden's 105.9 FM show the Steelers will not reduce Wallace's tender offer, but the timing of his announcement is interesting.
It's as if he's playing the "in good faith card." That's really what this whole negotiation is about.
Most never felt the team would reduce it, but clearly, Art Rooney II wasn't thrilled with Wallace not attending minicamp. In that, he could make a valid argument that both sides were asked to negotiate in good faith, and part of that is signing his RFA tender and showing up to work with his team.
I'm not suggesting that's the right course of action, but it's fair for Rooney to exercise his collectively bargained right to reduce his tender after the other side snubbed his team by not showing up to a mandatory event.
This bleeds into a frequently argued point on here. Wallace is technically not under contract with the Steelers, although the Steelers maintain his rights. He cannot play somewhere in 2012 without the Steelers' approval, which is in many ways a binding contract. As a part of the NLFPA, Wallace is subject to the same rules regarding restricted free agency, and while I'm fairly certain the Steelers wouldn't be allowed to put a gun to his head and force him to run fly routes, the idea centers around negotiating in good faith.
So should he show up or shouldn't he? Should the Steelers reduce his tender offer or shouldn't they?
Is Colbert's well-timed statement his way of acting in good faith? If it is, what will Wallace's be?