According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it looks pretty likely that Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace won’t be reporting to training camp today by the 4:00 p.m. deadline.
While Wallace not reporting today is not totally unexpected, his decision will likely mean that the Steelers will now cut off contract negotiations with him and his agent Bus Cook. The Steelers have taken a hard stance over the years in regard to not negotiating with players that try to use a hold out as a means of negotiation.
Wallace was tendered at a first round level of $2.74 million at that the start of free agency and has refused to sign it. As a result the Ole Miss product missed all of the offseason practices. Wallace did manage to stop in to pick up his new playbook and visit with head coach Mike Tomlin, along with several others in the front office, at the beginning of the offseason and at that time Tomlin said of the Wallace absence, “It\’s probably some short-term misery.”
Wallace and his agent have both remained very silent throughout the offseason in regard to contract talks. While there was a report early on in free agency that Wallace wanted money in the neighborhood of what Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald received, it has never been substantiated as fact.
With Wallace not being under contract, the Steelers have no ability to fine him. For now, if indeed Wallace does not show up by the reporting deadline later on today, the Steelers will likely just sit and wait until Wallace blinks and signs his tender. At that time the two sides can move forward with talks of a long-term deal.
ETA: Mark Kaboly reports that he talked to Emmanuel Sanders today who said that he expects Wallace to show in “3 or 4” days.