On a day where one high profile holdout got worse, with Maurice Jones-Drew expressing his anger with Jaguars ownership and saying he’d be open to a trade, the other remaining high profile holdout seemingly got better. According to separate reports by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Wallace is expected to join the Steelers this weekend, after their preseason game against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.
The Steelers refusal to move Wallace in a trade appears to have paid off as Wallace will be a big contributor for a team built to win now. His long term future with the team remains murky as they would appear to lack the cap space needed to give Wallace the type of money he wants and deserves, especially after extending Antonio Brown.
They had to restructure several contracts this offseason just to get under the cap and next offseason they figure to be very backed up against the cap, if not over it, as all of the recently restructured deals will hurt them more next offseason and because Brown’s extension will kick in. However, for a team built to win now, 1 year of Wallace was probably worth more to them than any type of 2013 draft pick (or picks) they could have gotten in a trade for him.
Wallace should still have a down year statistically after his extended holdout. By holding out, he risked getting out of shape. It’s very tough to stay in top football shape on your own. Even more likely, he also missed valuable Training Camp and preseason time with a new offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, coming in. Antonio Brown likely has a much stronger grasp of the playbook than Wallace and he should lead the team in receiving this year. Wallace caught 72 passes for 1193 yards and 8 touchdowns last season, while Brown caught 69 passes for 1108 yards and 2 touchdowns.
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