Colbert Explains Game Of Hardball Now Being Played Against Wallace

Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert talked to the media today and answered questions concerning restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace, who failed to report to camp by the 4:00 p.m. deadline on Wednesday and sign his restricted tender.

Colbert told the media that indeed all offers to Wallace are now off the table and that the receiver will need to report and sign his tender before any new negotiations are to take place. Colbert admitted that the ball is indeed in Wallace\’s court right now and that the team is currently moving forward now with the other 89 players on the training camp roster. “Every negotiation is unique, you put best foot forward and hope to reach an agreement, and it takes two parties to reach an agreement,” Colbert said. “Obviously we\’re not at that stage and we\’ve chosen to not progress with negotiations at this point.”

He added, “That\’s been the Steelers policy forever.”

Colbert indicated that this is the first time that they have dealt with a situation like this as Wallace is restricted player with an extended tender as normally it is players under contract or draft picks that this takes place with. His status though still doesn\’t change the way the Steelers will negotiate with him. Colbert did point at that if he Wallace was a franchised player that had a deadline attached to him in might be different, but in the case of Wallace being a restricted free agent, there is no drop-dead date.

Colbert indicated that Omar Khan, the teams\’ chief contract negotiator, has talked to Bus Cook, Wallace\’s agent, recently and that he, himself, has talked to both Cook and Wallace. He did not indicate though how recent ago those talks took place. Colbert also told the media that there was no indication of what the next move that Wallace might make will be.

In addition to his other comments, Colbert reiterated that their decision to not drop the tender amount of Wallace back in mid June was never in their plans because they think Wallace is a good player and worthy of the full tender amount. He added that by not dropping it that it gives both sides a launching point for a new deal in addition.

In summation, the Steelers have handled Wallace exactly how we expected them to. They refuse to be held hostage by a hold out type tactic as it sets a bad precedent for future negotiations with players and their agents. This has been the “Steeler way” forever. Wallace being a restricted free agent didn\’t change any of that.

On Wednesday both cornerback Keenan Lewis, a long-time childhood friend of Wallace, and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders both expressed optimism that Wallace could be reporting soon. That of course was their thoughts though and they mean absolutely nothing until Wallace shows up and signs his tender.

So before Wallace gets a chance to play football again in Pittsburgh, he can now say that he has gotten to play a game of hardball, Pittsburgh style. A game that he has no chance to win.

  • Everett Lowe

    As I’ve said to many people, I sympathize with Wallace (as with all players) wanting the security of a long-term contract. After all, we all want job security in our respective careers. Added to which, football careers are short…even without major injuries (a very real risk). So I don’t blame Wallace for seeking what’s best for him. BUT, he had to know that this method was never going to be what “cracked” the Steelers. History should tell Wallace all he needs to know. Sign your contract, and the Steelers work with you. Don’t, and they won’t. Simple as that.

  • I don’t understand the advice Cook seems to be giving Wallace here. He has negotiated with the Steelers before, he knows how they operate. He has to know that they can’t win, especially without Wallace in camp.

  • Agreed. Not sure what Cook is doing. Kinda makes me think this is all Wallace. I kinda got the sense that he may have been motivated by the money. Hey, I ain’t mad at him but I guess he didn’t do his homework to know whom is dealing with.

  • zbluez1

    Bus Cook knows this tactic won’t work in the long term, I think Wallace knows it too. They may still be holding out hope that some team will throw draft picks at the Steelers and sign him for an outrageous sum, personally I just don’t see it happening. Both Cook and Wallace have to know that Wallace starts losing contract monies if he becomes a free agent next year from pretty much this point on if he fails to grasp the offense and fails to be the teams top receiving performer this year. He is in a how much am I going to lose position, not how much can I gain. Hopefully he will begin to see that sooner rather than later and get into camp, but you never know who or what he is listening to, so time will tell.

  • SteelerDave

    One of the “young money crew” just became “dumb money”.

    Mike who?

  • SteelSpine

    – Once Wallace signs the 2.75 mil tender, Steelers have less incentive than they do now to tear that up with a bigger $$ contract. Wallace knows that. Therefore of-course hold out.

    – If Wallace shows up right-after the last preseason game & signs that $2.75 tender at that time, I’m curious if Colbert & co would then resume working on a long-term deal w Wallace? Because yes Steelers dont negotiate when player doesnt show up but Steelers also dont negotiate contracts during regular season (or is it they don’t like to, I forget). Many players wait til preseason is over before they report. Btw if Wallace waits til then to show, Ed Bouchette’s prediction of long ago will be right, long ago Ed said Wallace will skip all OTAs then report at the last possible time then play-out the year on the $2.75 mil tender.

    – It’s too soon to say Good luck Mike Wallet & enjoy playing for the Raiders, I gahht 1st dibs on nat tho heheh.

  • That certainly would make for interesting coverage against the Raiders if they run out DHB, Wallace and Jacoby Ford.

    Too bad their QB is washed up.

  • Itisafineday

    This action/advice reminds me of when there is a talented player who has had issues with several teams, most everyone seems to understand that this players troubles are not worth his talents. But, then there is that team/owner/coach who thinks, “our staff can handle this guy, and get him going in the right direction.” This agent of Wallace’s is the guy who thinks, even though the Steelers have never changed their policy on holdouts, I’m the guy who will get them to change this time… wrong!