Rather than post every rumor that comes down the pike, I’ve decided instead to issue periodic updates on the status of the Pittsburgh Steelers wayward wide receiver Mike Wallace. Welcome to the first installment of Wallace Watch.
As you no doubt are aware, Wallace continues to hold out. So we will continue to mock him, at least until he signs a new contract, then we’ll pretend this unpleasantness never happened and go back to arguing that he’s the best wide out in the NFL. Unless he gets run out of town, in which case Wallace becomes the new Bobby Bonilla, hopefully without drunken yinzers throwing quarters and batteries at him when he returns to Pittsburgh. The latter isn’t likely to happen, however, as Steelers GM Kevin Colbert recently told ESPN’s Ed Werder that he has no intention of trading the disgruntled wide receiver.
Which is not at all surprising since the Steelers operate in much the same way as noted super-patriot Jack Bauer; they never negotiate with hostage-takers.
Not that it’s all that clear who is holding who hostage here. If you read yesterday’s update, I included a link to a story about Ben Roethlisberger. I fully understand if you didn’t click the link as I wouldn’t read the P-G unless I was paper training a puppy either but buried in the story about Big Ben’s latest health crisis was that he offered to fly down and have a talk with Wallace. The Steelers smartly declined because, honestly, what’s Ben going to say to him? Ben got his $100 million contract, I doubt his words are going to carry much weight with him. It’d be like Bill Gates lecturing a bunch of welfare recipients on the meaninglessness of having money.
Besides, Hines Ward already had a talk with Wallace after the season ended. If the words of one the greatest leaders the Steelers have ever had didn’t penetrate Wallace’s thick skull, no crib notes Ben reads off the palm of his hand will.
In other news, and this is strictly rumor so take it with a grain of salt, word around town is that the Steelers did offer Wallace a contract before signing Antonio Brown, as I guessed in my post on AB’s new deal. It was supposedly for a tad more than they ended up giving Brown, 5 years $50 million, which would still make Wallace the second highest paid Steeler receiver of all time. Allegedly, Wallace’s agent advised him to take the deal but Wallace is hellbent on being one of the richest receivers in the entire NFL.
To that end, there was an interesting inference in the Trib’s story about Brown’s new contract. For awhile now, we’ve been laughing at the insane notion that Wallace feels he should be paid Larry Fitz money. Well, evidently, he’s not insane, just crazy, because he doesn’t want Fitz money, he wants V-Jax cash. As in Vincent Jackson, the former San Diego receiver who signed with Tampa this off-season for 5 years $55.555 million. Granted, I don’t know if it’s true the Steelers offered Wallace $50 mill or how much of that was guaranteed (V-Jax got about half) but if he’s really holding out over a lousy five milliion dollars, he’s an even bigger asshole than I thought.
Even more disturbing is the notion he’s taking his negotiating tactics from V-Jax’s playbook. Jackson, you may recall, held out until the week before the regular season, when the Chargers decided to suspend him for being dick. He filed a complaint with the union but eventually accepted his suspension. When he did return, he mailed in a half-hearted effort, making it clear he couldn’t wait to skip town. If this is indeed Wallace’s game plan, well, perhaps Colbert should reconsider those trade offers.