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Report: Mike Wallace won't sign free agent tender 'until he has to'

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer
While Wallace waits for a possible long-term deal, he'll have to decide how long he might want to hold out. (Getty Images)

Now that it's official that restricted free agent Mike Wallace won't play for anybody but the Steelers in 2012 -- the deadline for another team to offer Wallace an offer sheet was Friday -- now we have to question whether Wallace wants to play at all.

According to ESPN.com's Adam Schefter, Wallace is willing to hold out from offseason workouts and part of training camp and that he won't sign his first-round tender "until he has to.”

In reality, he doesn't have to sign it at all.

But if he doesn't ink his name, there's a very strong chance he'll lose out on his ability to make $2.74 million for 2012. While Wallace and the Steelers say they're looking to sign a long-term deal to keep the talented receiver in Pittsburgh for many years, it appears that the two sides aren't close to agreeing on a price.

There have been reports that Wallace is looking for Larry Fitzgerald type money (in the eight-year, $120 million range), but Wallace also has downplayed the truth of those rumors.

If Wallace doesn't sign his tender by June 15, though, the Steelers could cut his offer to as little as $577,000 (110 percent of his 2011 salary). Or he could hold out longer. As PFT reminds us, Wallace could skip “training camp and the preseason and up to 10 weeks of the regular season. At that point, he could sign the tender, receive the prorated base salary under the $577,000 tender (i.e., $237,000), and then become an unrestricted free agent (subject to the franchise or transition tag) in 2013.”

That was the path taken by Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson and Patriots guard Logan Mankins during the 2010 season. Worked out OK for them, as Jackson signed a five-year, $55 million deal with the Buccaneers this offseason and Mankins inked a six-year, $51 million with New England in 2011.

So, hope lives on for Wallace. But for now, at least one of my CBSSports.com's colleague wants to know the point of a potential holdout.



For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.
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