Jul 132012

Breaking news: Mike Wallace still has not signed his one year tender. In fact, if the local sports talk shows are to be believed, word is that the Pittsburgh Steelers have stopped negotiating with him completely. As I’ve covered here before, this leaves the two sides at an impossible juncture. Wallace insists he won’t report to camp until “he has to” while the Steelers could theoretically keep him on the team in perpetuity through Franchise tags and the like.

The Steelers aren’t the only team dealing with a disgruntled player. Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints has been waging his own battle after he was Franchised over the off-season. He still hasn’t signed his tender, either, and reports are he has no intention of doing so by Monday’s deadline. Well, “deadline’ is a misnomer because if he doesn’t sign, the Franchise rules still apply meaning he can sign with another team but for the price of two first round picks. If nobody wanted to pay that price back in April, it doesn’t seem likely somebody will now.

Brees wants a long term deal and he’s not the only one. Wes Welker and Matt Forte were also Franchised and although both seemingly realized they have no choice but to sign their tender and play out the year neither is happy about it. Then we have our good friends down in Baltimore. They have two key players threatening to hold out over contract issues. Ray Rice was, repeat after me, Franchised and he, repeat after me, hasn’t signed his tender because he also wants a long term deal. Meanwhile, rabble rouser Ed Reed does have a contract but it’s the final year of his deal and he’s making noise about holding out until he gets an extension.

I bring up Reed because in comments to the Baltimore Sun, he told them “the NFLPA messed things up” last year when signing the new CBA. Gee, ya think? It became apparent about ten minutes after the deal was signed that the NFLPA basically folded up like a cheap lawn chair. But the deal is done and complaining about it now is nothing more than crying over spilled milk. Granted at least 50% of the NFLPA membership probably reads at a 10th grade level while the other half was probably more worried about making their child support payments than what the deal contained.

Still, it’s the job of the various NFLPA reps and the organization’s leadership to educate their members as to what they’re signing. I’m sure somebody over there knows Powerpoint. Hell, they could easily hire an artist to make some illustrated flash cards to explain how the deal worked. At least roll out a few pie charts. Casey Hampton would definitely pay attention to those.

The point is the deal is signed. They agreed to the tenets of unrestricted free agency and they agreed to the Franchise tag. So players getting huffy about the rules and refusing to abide by them is ridiculous. I understand football is a sudden, violent game and one blindside hit or bad landing on your knee and your career could go down the toilet. I understand that’s why players hate one year deals. But I also understand the basic concept of business which is “you sign a deal, you live up to the deal.” The NFLPA negotiated the new CBA, the players approved the new CBA, so you have to abide by the CBA. Which means if you get Franchised, you sign the contract, show up and play. And if you’re an unrestricted free agent and you get tendered, you sign the tender, show up and play. None of this pouting that you want a multi-year deal, none of this issuing threats and then holding out.

It’s not the teams’ fault they’re taking advantage of the system that was mutually agreed to. If you had a problem with it, last year was the time to enact a change. Now, it’s too late. And if you’re unhappy, there’s nobody to blame but yourselves.

Mike Wallace Follows Through On Hollow Threat

 Posted by at 5:16 am  Mike Wallace  Comments Off on Mike Wallace Follows Through On Hollow Threat
May 162012

About a month ago, news surfaced that Mike Wallace was not pleased with the Pittsburgh Steelers one year tender offer. Word was he was prepared to sit out “until he has to” come back, whatever that means. Thus far his posturing hasn’t been a big deal because there was no football for him to miss. However, the Steelers have two full-roster OTA sessions scheduled this month and it appears Wallace will not be attendance for either.

Which is logical considering the greedy bastard still hasn’t signed his tender.

I have no idea what Wallace is thinking. Does he think the Steelers have forgotten about him? General Manager Kevin Colbert has said repeatedly he wants to keep him here for a very long time. Does he think sitting out will force the Steelers hand? I guess he’s never heard the saying it’s hard to miss you when you’re not here.

Seriously, what exactly is his play here? He has ZERO leverage. The restricted free agency period has passed so he can’t negotiate with other teams. Not that any teams were interested in his insane Larry Fitz-level asking price. He HAS to play for the Steelers this season for the $3 million they tendered him. This isn’t even up for discussion.

Wallace needs to play at least eight games in order to qualify for unrestricted free agency next season. Even if he does fulfill the obligation, the Steelers can tag him and keep him under a one year contract in perpetuity. This is how the NFL works. This is the deal his union agreed to. I can’t stand when players whine and complain and hold out when they’re tendered and/or tagged. THE NFLPA AGREED TO THESE CONDITIONS. If you don’t like it, take it up with Dee Smith and the other boneheads who run your union. You’re not Curt Flood.

So instead of signing his tender, reporting to OTAs and playing out his contractual obligations to the Steelers, he’s sitting home pouting because they aren’t giving him the long-term deal wants. Oh boo hoo. First off, the Steelers are NEVER going to give you Larry Fitz money because you’re not Larry Fitz. Larry Fitz doesn’t have zero 100 yard receiving games the entire second half of the season then catch 3 balls for 23 pathetic yards in the playoff loss to Denver. The Steelers will give Wallace a fair contract if he comes back to reality but first they have other worries like signing their first round draft pick. The Steelers are still right up against the salary cap so they may not even be able to negotiate a long-term contract extension right now.

Holding out is pretty much the worst option available. By holding out, Wallace only shows he’s self-centered pain in the ass. Putting yourself ahead of the team is only going to piss off Steeler management, who hate dealing with diva receivers as it is. If Wallace takes this to Defcon-4 by refusing to report to training camp, well, I wouldn’t blame the Steelers if they followed the path the Chargers took with Vincent Jackson last season and put him on the roster exempt list thereby suspending him for three games when he finally does sign his tender. I’m not really worried about Wallace picking up Todd Haley’s new offense because it’s not terribly complicated to run in a straight line as fast as you can.

Whatever scenario comes to pass, it’s getting harder and harder to imagine Mike Wallace will still be wearing the Black and Gold in 2013.

Oct 282011

If Mick was right that women weaken legs, Rob Gronkowski will be in a wheelchair on Sunday.

The Baltimore Ravens are considered the biggest rivals of the Pittsburgh Steelers. With all due respect (which is to say, none), I disagree. A true rivalry is borne out of two equals battling to accomplish the same goal. The Ratbirds haven’t beaten the Steelers in a meaningful game since Ben Roethlisberger first stepped foot in Heinz Field. Over the past ten years, they’ve been a good team but not a great one.

No, there are only two teams who can legitimately claim greatness here in the 21st century. The Steelers and the New England Patriots. Over the past decade, the Patriots have appeared in four Super Bowls and won three. The Black and Gold have appeared in three, winning two. If it were not for the Patriots, the Steelers alone would be able to lay claim to the title of the NFL’s premiere franchise.

If that fact weren’t galling enough, our history with the Patriots is as unfortunate as Baltimore’s is with us. Tom Brady is 6-1 against the Steelers, and overall the Patriots are 7-2 against Pittsburgh since Dreamboat took over signal-calling duties up in New England. Even more heart-breaking, the Pats are 3-1 in post-season meetings. More recently, who can forget the Patriots humiliating 39-26 defeat of the Steelers last season?
Continue reading »