|“There is a lot of frustration with Mike right now,” Taylor said recently. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor spent Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas with teammate Mike Wallace. The former signed a four-year deal last July and will likely finish his career in Pittsburgh. The latter is waiting for his payday but has grown frustrated with the lack of progress. Meanwhile, Wallace's teammates are participating in OTAs and learning a new offensive system while he has yet to sign a franchise tender that will pay him $2.7 million in 2012.
On Tuesday, during his weekly show on TribLive Radio, Taylor spoke about Wallace's state of mind.
“There is a lot of frustration with Mike right now,” Taylor said via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly. “He wants to be here. ... But at the same time he wants his paper. Mike feels like he outperformed his last contract. But he's dealing with a monster, and that's the Pittsburgh Steelers … they are not going to let you dictate to them on how you feel.”
Therein lies the problem: Wallace feels he's put up the numbers deserving a nice raise. (We can only speculate on how big a raise he's thinking -- something north of his rookie contract but presumably south of Larry Fitzgerald money … we hope, for the sake of getting a deal done.) But the Steelers aren't going to budge in the face of demands or threats. That's just not how they operate.
Taylor understands this. As does linebacker Larry Foote, who left after the 2008 season because he lost his starting job to Lawrence Timmons. He spent the year with the Lions before returning to Pittsburgh in 2010.
"You can't really explain it until you go through it," Foote said in March 2010 of playing in Detroit in 2009. "You talk about dog days, especially being a competitive person and losing. But I made some good relationships over there also. It was good going home and playing there. I just thank God I'm back (with the Steelers) and I didn't sign a longer deal [with the Lions]."
Wallace has until June 15 to sign his tender or the Steelers could reduce his 2012 salary to $577,000. And while there's been no indication of what he plans to do, general manager Kevin Colbert said in February that the team wants to sign one of the league's most explosive young wide receivers to a long-term deal. The biggest issue, of course: the number of zeros to the left of the decimal in said deal.
Taylor indicated that he'd like to see Wallace show up for offseason workouts because coordinator Todd Haley is installing a new offense that already has given quarterback Ben Roethlisberger some sleepless nights.
But as Kaboly tweeted last week, Steelers wideout Antonio Brown said that Wallace was at the team facility to pick up a new playbook. It's a start, but there are only so many mental reps he can do. Ultimately, Wallace needs to be on the practice field with the rest of his teammates because once the season starts, mental reps don't mean much.
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