|Wallace is one of the best young wideouts in the game, but he still hasn't signed his tender offer. (US PRESSWIRE)|
As Mike Freeman recently wrote, Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace was facing a serious leverage deadline when it came to signing his restricted free agent tender. On Friday, the Steelers had an opportunity to reduce the level of his tender from $2.72 million to $577,000.
But the Steelers, according to GM Kevin Colbert, aren't going to do that.
"That's never been an intention of ours," Colbert said 105.9 The X's Mark Madden Thursday, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "When we tendered Mike at the amount we did, the compensation through that tender, we really had no issue with that whatsoever because he is deserving of that."
Wallace didn't appear at the Steelers' offseason training activities (voluntary) or the recent minicamp (mandatory), but he didn't have to because he's currently not under contract. And it was previously reported that the wideout won't sign his tender "until he has to."
There are obviously some issues of contention between Wallace and the team -- and teammate Ike Taylor said recently that Wallace is growing frustrated with his status -- but Colbert maintains that a long-term deal can get done.
“We want him to get a long-term deal that he deserves, and I am real confident that we will be able to do that because when both sides want the same thing, it is only a matter of time,” Colbert said.
Of course, wanting to get Wallace on a long-term deal and actually doing it are two different things. The Steelers aren't exactly flush with cap space, and Wallace still maintains some leverage: he can hold out of training camp (which begins July 25) and he can even hold out as long as mid-November without losing a free agent season.
That's the Vincent Jackson route, and while it might not make him particularly popular with his teammates or fans, it will still enable him to land a big paycheck, or, at the very least, force the Steelers to use the franchise tag on him.
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