Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Wednesday on NFL Live that Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace has no plans to sign his one-year, $2.742 million tender. Schefter added that Wallace plans to sit out all of the Steelers offseason workouts until the two sides reach a long-term contract agreement.
The restricted free agent deadline of April 20 is now 9 days away and while this report has not been confirmed by Wallace or anyone with the Steelers, it is plausible. As plausible as it might seem, it is not a good idea for Wallace to try to strong arm the Steelers front office as a negotiation tactic. His agent Bus Cook should know this as well. Wallace needs another accrued season to be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent and the Steelers know this.
If indeed Wallace does refuse to sign his tender, the Steelers will likely stop negotiations until he signs his tender and reports. The downside is that Wallace could likely miss a crucial part of the offseason OTA sessions as new offensive coordinator Todd Haley installs his new offense, but it is not the end of the world as long as he is in training camp on time.
Should the Steelers cave to his demands, it would set a bad precedent for future negotiations with other players down the road. Hopefully the news is not true and Wallace signs his tender in good faith that a long term agreement can be reached prior to the start of the season.