Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert was on the Movin the Chains radio show today, which can be heard on SiriusXM Radio, to talk about several things related to the team as they finish up the third and final OTA session on Thursday.
Late in the interview, co-host Pat Kirwan asked about restricted free agent Mike Wallace, who has yet to sign his one-year restricted offer of $2.74 million and report to organized team activities. Kirwan started off by saying he was sure that Wallace would be gone via restricted free agency asked Colbert if he was holding his breath for a while. “Not really, Pat,” said Colbert. “Our mindset was always, look, we can\’t franchise the player. Economically, we couldn\’t have handled it from a cap standpoint. So we did what we could to guarantee that at least we\’d have the right to match it. And you know Mike has always been a priority for us and he\’ll continue to be a priority as we\’re working toward this contract and we\’re confident we\’ll get that done.” Colbert continued on, “He was in here a couple of weeks ago and picked up a playbook and everybody got to talk to him and we\’ll continue to work with his agent, Bus Cook, and try to finalize that. But our mindset was always Mike was going to be here and I think Mike\’s mindset is he wants to be here. So usually when you have that working on both sides, obviously makes it easier. It\’s never easy, but yet we\’re confident that will come to a head.
Kirwan then wanted to clarify if indeed the Steelers were working on a multi-year with him now, and Colbert replied, “Oh absolutely. Mike is someone who\’s stated he wants to be here and we certainly want him. So like I said, you will always have a chance then.”
To recap everything, this is the same company line Colbert and the Steelers have stated ever since the 2011 season ended and nothing has changed. It started with Team President Art Rooney II during his end of the season interview when he stated that Wallace would be a priority to get signed to a long-term deal and the organization has never wavered in any of their words since then.
While Wallace will almost certainly be a no-show for the mandatory mini-camp next week, unless a new deal is reached, the Steelers will do nothing and continue negotiations just like Colbert said today. While the team has the right to lower his tender amount on June 15th, they won\’t, and I have stated this all along. In good faith they will not do this to Wallace.
Wallace might be frustrated, but Colbert seems confident a long-term deal will get done. It might not be until a few days into training camp at the latest, but it should get done.
You can listen to the audio from the interview below: