NFL contract holdouts generally go one of two ways. Either the player’s absence motivates his team to get a long-term deal done (see Brees, Drew) or the player eventually caves and is forced to play out whatever deal is already in place (see Welker, Wes and Bowe, Dwayne).
Citing multiple sources, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette reported Tuesday that Wallace is expected to arrive in Pittsburgh this weekend and sign his one-year contract.
The Steelers offered Wallace, a 26-year-old restricted free agent, a one-year tender worth $2.742 million. Wallace had hoped to sign a long-term contract, but while he was away, Pittsburgh re-upped with another receiver, Antonio Brown, who agreed to a six-year, $42.5 million contact on the second day of training camp. The move left Wallace understandably upset.
Despite his own suggestion that the Patriots or 49ers could use a deep threat of his caliber, Wallace never received an offer from another team, limiting his leverage with the Steelers. Now, according to Bouchette, Wallace has become Pittsburgh’s longest holdout since 1990 No. 1 pick Eric Green missed the first four regular season games due to a holdout.
When he arrives in camp, he’ll have plenty of catching up to do to digest new offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s playbook. And although Wallace has back-to-back seasons with at least 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns to his name, his absence could give Brown and fellow third-year wideout Emmanuel Sanders a serious leg up going into the regular season.
If Wallace does end up signing the original one-year tender, what did that holdout really accomplish?