Report: Plaxico Burress wants too much to return, Mike Wallace will show eventually

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Could Burress return to Pittsburgh to add depth in Wallace's absence? (Getty Images)

Last week, currently unemployed Plaxico Burress admitted to being surprised that he hadn't yet signed with an NFL team. "No doubt about it," he said. "With some of the things I was able to do after being away for two years, I pretty much thought it spoke for itself. But I guess obviously not."

Not yet, anyway. Over the weekend, we wrote of the possibility of Burress landing in either Oakland or Pittsburgh, the latter being the place where his NFL career began in 2000. Because Mike Wallace remains a holdout, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette wrote Saturday that "It's also early, but if the status quo holds -- Wallace stays away and no one joins the top three -- the Steelers may be forced to look elsewhere, either a current free agent (Plaxico Burress anyone?) or via trade."

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On Tuesday, Bouchette tweeted this update:

"Plaxico Burress has a big back tax bill. He is unemployed. The #Steelers need a wide receiver to replace Mike Wallace. I'm told Burress wants "too much money" but something has to give and it doesn't look as though Wallace will give in any time soon."

According to TMZ, Burress owes New York State $59,241 in back taxes which, as Bouchette notes, might make him more amenable to signing something close to a veteran minimum deal. (Hey, if it's good enough for Batman and Robin it's good enough for Plax).

This isn't the first time we've heard of a Plaxico-Pittsburgh reunion; last summer there were similar rumblings. Burress met with the team and he would've likely returned to the Steelers -- except he wanted too much money. Instead, he signed a one-year, $3 million contract to play for the Jets.

Of course, the only reason the Steelers are considering Burress now is because Wallace is currently on his couch, his holdout now reaching two full weeks. General manager Kevin Colbert said there's been no contact with Wallace recently, but he also reiterated that the team has no intentions of trading him.

ESPN's Bob Holtzman reported Tuesday that he believes Wallace will eventually report to camp but his source added (via Rotoworld.com) "…that there's a lot of healing that needs to be done -- for both sides … I'm also told, though, that it may be awhile before Wallace shows up here because the Steelers, about ten days ago, signed Antonio Brown to a long, six-year contract extension worth $40-something million, and I'm told 'that did not sit very well' with Wallace."

We pointed out Monday that Wallace has little-to-know leverage, despite being one of the league's most explosive players. And if he's truly hurt by the club's decision to sign Antonio Brown -- even after first rejecting a five-year, $50 million offer -- then Wallace will be even less psyched by the Steelers inking Burress.

We get that Wallace thinks he's worth more than $10 million a year and, honestly, it's hard to argue that he shouldn't be making more than the $11 million per year the Bucs gave Vincent Jackson this spring. But that's not the Steelers' problem. They had a number in mind, it wasn't enough for Wallace, so the organization moved on to Brown. There's still a chance the two sides can come to an agreement but Colbert's made it clear that there will be no negotiating until Wallace shows up and signs his $2.7 restricted free-agent tender.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

 
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