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)
Consider this as us reveling in another team's misery. Along with the Baltimore Ravens having their own contract squabble with Ray Rice, the Steelers are having their own problems with Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Wallace. The team offered Wallace a one-year tender, as he's an unrestricted free agent, and the receiver has yet to sign the offer. Wallace wants a lucrative longterm deal and the club isn't willing to pay what he's asking--mostly because they also have to look at extending Antonio Brown as well.
As you may or may not know, teams would have to give up a first-round pick to the Steelers if they wish to match the offer sheet and subsequently sign the player to a longterm deal. There was chatter of the Bengals looking at this route during the offseason because of their massive cap space, but giving up a high pick to their division rival isn't a good idea. And, with the team drafting Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, the need for a high-priced receiver went out the window.
There’s no reason for any progress to be made, because there’s no specific date before the launch of camp on which the two sides would move toward their bottom-line positions. Unlike franchise players, who have a July 16 deadline for signing multi-year deals with their current teams, the Steelers and Wallace can work out a long-term contract at any time before the Tuesday after Week 10 of the regular season. And if Wallace signs his one-year RFA tender before that in-season deadline, a multi-year deal can be done at any time thereafter.
Wallace reportedly will sign the tender when he "has to." The question remains when he believes he has to. Technically, he can hold out of training camp and the preseason and still get the full $2.77 million for 2012. But if he does that, he’ll be woefully unprepared to function in a new offense led by former Chiefs coach Todd Haley.
These things always end up with one side caving and giving in to another side's demands. We tend to think that Wallace won't win this one, though. The Steelers constantly reload their roster and find talent in all rounds of the draft. Some believe that Brown is actually the superior talent and will be the one who ultimately gets paid-not Wallace. We'll see how this plays out, but we don't expect a quick resolution here.
As for the Ravens, they're also dealing with an Achilles injury to their star linebacker/defensive end, Terrell Suggs. He sustained the injury this offseason.The Pro Bowler claims that he'll be available by the second half of the season this year, even though these types of injuries take about a full year to recover from. It appears that Suggs is making good on his bold proclamation.
"It’s going great, I’m in good spirits, I like the progress that I’m making," Suggs told Trey Wingo on NFL Live. "I came out of the boot last week, I’m just walking right now, doing muscle strengthening, trying to get the tendon back strong, and I’m great with where I’m at right now, just loving the process."
"I’m really optimistic," Suggs said. "I kind of just want everybody to be surprised."
We'll see what this means for Suggs and his actual recovery process. Most every injured player paints a rosy picture of their rehabilitation process and it appears that Suggs' situation is no different. The most likely scenario is that the team will put Suggs on the Physically Unable to Perform List (PUP List), rendering him inactive for the first six games of the season. From there, they'll likely feel out where Suggs is at and if he'll be able to contribute at all in 2012.