Restricted free agent Mike Wallace is absent from the Steelers’ mandatory minicamp. The word “mandatory” is a little misleading because it’s only mandatory if a player is under contract, which Wallace, who has yet to sign his restricted free agent tender, is not currently, so the Steelers can’t fine him. However, they can reduce his tender value from 2.742 million to 577 thousand on Friday, but multiple sources believe that the Steelers will not do that as an act of good faith as they try to get Wallace signed long term.
However, the two sides are still not close on a long term deal, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Wallace said earlier this offseason that he wanted Larry Fitzgerald money. Fitzgerald got 120 million over 8 years last offseason and since Wallace’s statements, Calvin Johnson actually surpassed Wallace’s deal with 136 million over 7 years, which couldn’t have lowered Wallace’s contract demands. While they want him signed long term, the Steelers don’t have the cap space, nor the desire to pay Wallace that kind of money and frankly he’s not quite worth that kind of cash.
The Steelers have all the leverage in these negotiations and should eventually be able to get Wallace to either sign his tender, in which case they could franchise him next offseason for around 9.5-10 million, or agree to a smaller long term deal, one in the neighborhood of the 55.5 million over 5 that Vincent Jackson got from the Buccaneers this offseason. For now though, the two sides are having little to no discussion.