For anyone in their final year of their contract on the offensive side of the ball this season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it wasn’t a good time to make a case for a long-term deal with the organization. This definitely goes for wide receiver Mike Wallace.
The combination of a new offensive scheme, injuries, overall inconsistent play offensively, and holding out of training camp had a major effect on Wallace’s numbers this season.
The 64 receptions and 836 yards recorded this year are a far cry from what Wallace did for the Steelers in the previous two seasons. However, he did tie for first on the team with eight touchdown catches.
Wallace’s decline on the stats sheet could play a factor in whether or not the Steelers’ front office decides to bring him back next year. However, I think that the new system, injuries to the entire offense, and the lack of production on offense was the reason for his pedestrian numbers, and shouldn’t count against him.
I do feel that the one thing that will hurt the chances of Wallace returning to Pittsburgh next season is the fact that he held out of training camp for a long-term deal, and reportedly turned down an offer of $50 million.
The Steelers still have the option of slapping the franchise tag on Wallace, which will be worth approximately $11 million, and keep him for another season. As possible as that may be, I believe that there are other teams that might be willing to offer Wallace the long-term deal that he’s been wanting. If that happens, I’m sure Wallace won’t hesitate.
The 26-year-old receiver is still one of the fastest players in the NFL, and shouldn’t lose that blazing speed anytime soon. Wallace’s youth and ability to stretch a defense is what will attract most teams that need a down-the-field threat.
With the success that former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians had as an interim head coach with the Indianapolis Colts this season, I won’t be surprised if he gets a head-coaching offer somewhere. In the event that does happen, I also won’t be surprised to see Wallace end up getting a boatload of money to play for Arians.
Wallace won’t play in the regular season finale this week due to injury, and might have put on a Steeler uniform for the last time.
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