It looks like the effect that Antonio Brown has shown already this preseason has paid off, as reports from teammates of Mike Wallace say that the wide out will be back with the team by this weekend.
Here’s what Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette had to say about it earlier today.
The Steelers expect that Mike Wallace will arrive back in Pittsburgh this weekend and sign his one-year contract after they return from their third preseason game in Buffalo, multiple sources told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Steelers play Saturday night in Buffalo. Presumably Wallace would be eligible to play in their final preseason game against Carolina Aug. 30 at Heinz Field, but whether he will or not remains unknown. The Steelers have off on Sunday after their game against Buffalo and will have only two real days of practice before they finish up the preseason against the Panthers.
However, reporting this weekend would give the Pro Bowl wide receiver two weeks to practice and prepare for the regular-season opener in Denver Sept. 9. It also could reopen negotiations on a multiple-year deal between Wallace and the Steelers, talks that ended when he did not report for the start of training camp July 25. The Steelers have a long-standing policy of not negotiating contracts once the regular-season begins. So if Wallace signs his one-year tender Sunday or Monday, it would give them less than two weeks to work on a multiple-year deal with him.
Those negotiations had been ongoing after no other team made him a contract offer as a restricted free agent, a period that ended in April. Wallace’s rights then reverted back to the Steelers exclusively, but he has not yet signed the one-year tender of $2.742 million they offered him. After Wallace declined to sign it and did not report to camp, the Steelers turned to another wide receiver, Antonio Brown. Their 2011 team MVP agreed to a six-year, $42.5 million contract just two days into training camp.
Brown has looked great this preseason with a long TD on Sunday night. Wallace had to be watching, and now it seems like he really has no choice. He can sit out, but if he wants to gain ground and be on the field come opening day, he needs to be in camp.
Let’s hope once he’s arrived, the sides can start to talk again and maybe get a deal done, though at this point with the money they have paid Brown, that seems unlikely.
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