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Ed: Trading Wallace Best for Both Sides
Saturday, 28 July 2012 07:27
Written by Ed Bouchette
It makes more sense than ever for Mike Wallace to sign his one-year tender, get into training camp and play the entire 2012 season. After all, it is his final dress rehearsal for his next employer for 2013.
The Steelers did more than sign a good, young receiver when Antonio Brown committed to them through the 2017 season. They lowered the kaboom on Wallace. There was little chance they were going to give into Wallace’s contract demands before they signed Brown; there is no chance now.
That doesn’t mean a multiple-year contract is no longer available to Wallace. It very well could be. But the number offered by the Steelers before AB would likely be reduced dramatically, that is if negotiations even resume with Wallace on a multiple-year deal.
A sign-and-trade remains a possibility, but the Steelers do not like to go that route because it might set a precedent for a player or players to force trades similarly in the future. However, a trade technically can happen and the scenario would look like this: The Steelers give another team or teams permission to talk to Wallace to try to work out a deal. If they do, Wallace would sign his one-year tender with the Steelers, who then would trade him to the other team. What could they get for Wallace at this point? No team apparently was willing to give up a first-round draft choice for him when he was a restricted free agent, so why would they do it now? Santonio Holmes, remember, brought them only a fifth-round pick. I’m guessing with Wallace, it could be a fourth-rounder.
Do you do that trade? I think the Steelers have reached a point that they might. They now view Wallace as a potential distraction – not his holdout, but if he ever ends it. He not only slumped in the second half of last season, but so did his attitude and they would assume if he had to sign the one-year deal and was unable to get a longer deal from the Steelers to his satisfaction, that attitude would not improve this season.
This looked to be the most ill-advised holdout since Franco Harris in 1984, and the fallout from that. However, Harris was at the end of the road and the Steelers were willing to give him one final season – they even put him on the cover of their press guide that year, an honor they almost never do for a player or coach. Wallace is only in his fourth season.
If the Steelers do trade Wallace over the next month or so, the holdout could be seen as a victory for the player because he will have gotten big money, only elsewhere. If that happens, the Steelers will have lost one of the league’s best big-play receivers. However, they really never had a choice because they were never going to pay Wallace the kind of money he wanted and it appears he was not going to accept much less.
I’ve written here and said it on radio and TV since the spring that I thought they never would come to a long-term deal with Wallace, that he would have to sign the one-year tender, play this season and enter free agency next March. I did not think a trade could happen. Wallace could try to encourage a trade by not reporting to training camp, and the Steelers could do nothing and let him sit. But once the season begins, if he continues to hold out, neither side gains anything.
The only good way out of this for both sides would be for the Steelers to trade Mike Wallace.