HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 02: Wide receiver Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers splits the defense of cornerback Brice McCain #21 and linebacker Brian Cushing #56 of the Houston Texans on October 2, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.Texans won 17 to 10. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
With that off-season all but finished (players report to training camp today for the infamous conditioning test with practice beginning Thursday), that one-year contract is nothing but unsigned.
Will Wallace show up today, sign the contract, run his 16 110-yard sprints (or some other ungodly amount) and let his agent and the front office continue negotiating a long-term deal? Or will he sit it all out?
There's been nothing but conjecture and speculation to this point (including a poorly timed joke Tuesday announcing Wallace had signed a five-year deal, just an hour after the Steelers announced an extension for head coach Mike Tomlin), but the fact is Wallace cannot practice with the team until his contract is signed.
The team wants him in training camp. Ergo, he isn't going to get a long-term deal until he signs the offer in front of him.
That's what makes this situation different for Wallace than it was for former Steelers WR Hines Ward, who held out the first two weeks of the 2005 season. Ward was under contract, and subjected to fines for missing practice. Wallace is not, and cannot be fined.
So what are the odds he signs either his tender offer or a long-term deal today?
Taking a look at the client list of his agent, Bus Cook, a few notable names pop out. First is Lions WR Calvin Johnson, who signed an eight-year, $132 million contract - $60 million guaranteed - this offseason. While no one would confuse Wallace for Johnson, it shows Cook has negotiated the largest wide receiver contract in history.
Not dramatic, but it shows Cook's vision. If Wallace is seen as half the player Johnson is, it's a pretty substantial deal.
Another Cook client, Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis, held out for five days starting training camp last year. He differs from Wallace in that Lewis signed the franchise tag he was given before camp started, so he was fined for each of the five days he missed before he reported. The Steelers do not have that leverage on Wallace.
Lewis signed a five-year, $25 million contract five days after his holdout ended.
Cook also handles Bears QB Jay Cutler, perhaps best known for his stint in Denver where he eventually requested a trade from the team that drafted him. Put the blame for that on Cutler or Cook or former head coach Josh McDaniels, the fact is there isn't much precedent for a franchise quarterback demanding a trade three years after his selection.
And let's not forget Brett Favre. His "Will-He-Or-Won't-He" act will be forever a part of football and pop culture history. Perhaps not something to blame on the agent, but again, something you just don't see much of throughout the league.
This isn't to suggest Cook's clients all pull stunts, or even that Wallace would be wrong for holding out, it does show recent history of some of his clients taking action that would not place them with their respective teams at the start of camp.