ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Wednesday afternoon Steelers restricted free agent WR Mike Wallace is not planning to sign his RFA tender offer from Pittsburgh. It's a one year guaranteed contract worth about $ 2.7 million.
In doing so, he's saying he's not playing until he gets the contract he wants.
His motivations behind this could be numerous, but at its core, it's a leverage move by Wallace and his agent to negotiate a higher long-term contract - something both sides have said they want.
By not signing his tender, Wallace is stating he won't play without a long-term deal, or, essentially, he intends to hold out until he gets an extended deal to his liking.
It could also be simply a veiled threat (incidentally, leaked to one of the most followed sports writers in the media) to force the Steelers to continue pressing on in negotiations.
It's perhaps not a coincidence news of Wallace's alleged desire to hold out came at approximately the same time the Steelers announced a two-year deal for free agent WR Jerricho Cotchery.
Speculation rules supreme this time of year, but the fact is the Steelers will want to avoid a holdout situation, but are not likely to be bullied by a player with Wallace's level of tenure with the team.
Keep in mind, and this isn't being reported, the Dolphins traded then-restricted free agent Wes Welker to the Patriots for a second round pick, and a seventh round pick, in 2007. It's not as if the Steelers couldn't trade Wallace and his contract demands for a suitable bounty, and leave the future contract negotiations to another team.
If the allegation is true (and the idea of Wallace wanting a Larry Fitzgerald-sized contract to leave Pittsburgh still hangs in the air, essentially unconfirmed), consider the gloves off between the organization and its biggest big-play receiver.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain