Mike Wallace is sitting out training camp, but the Steelers are moving on.
General manager Kevin Colbert said Thursday the team won't budge from its long-standing position of not negotiating with a player when he is out of training camp. Wallace, a big-play wide receiver, failed to report when the other 89 players showed up for Wednesday at St. Vincent College.
"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."
This situation is unique because it is the first time a Steelers restricted free agent held out before camp began. Now, the Steelers say they will negotiate a long-term deal only if Wallace reports and signs his $2.742 million tender for this season.
"We'll have to address any new negotiations if we get to that point," Colbert said.
Colbert is continuing to talk to Wallace and agent Bus Cook and Steelers negotiator Omar Khan is talking with Cook. Should Wallace sign the tender and report, any new deal that is worked out would circumvent the tender, so his income for this season would not necessarily be limited to that $2.742 million tender.
But, for now, Colbert said , "We're moving on. ... Him not being here, really, we've got to focus on what we can control, and we can't control that."
Wallace cannot be fined for holding out because he is not under contract.
With Wallace out of camp, Emmanuel Sanders will get more practice reps at the X receiver slot - the position usually filled by a team's best deep receiving threat. Antonio Brown could also see some practice time there.
"We have to prepare with the 89 guys who are here - we have to. You can't focus on who isn't here because you lose track of what you're supposed to be doing," Colbert said.
This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.