Since Wallace did not sign his tender before June 15, the Steelers have the option of reducing the tender to 110 percent of his previous year's base salary. Wallace earned $525,000 in 2011, so the Steelers could shrink his tender to $577,500, a reduction of $2.165 million. That's more than he made during his first three seasons in the NFL combined.
"Thatâs never been an intention of ours," Colbert told WXDX-FM's Mark Madden on Thursday, according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "When we tendered Mike at the amount we did, the compensation through that tender, we really had no issue with that whatsoever because he is deserving of that."
The Steelers earlier this offseason placed the first-round tender on Wallace, the highest level available in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The tender carries a non-guaranteed base salary of $2.742 million for the upcoming season.
As the New England Patriots learned with Logan Mankins and San Diego Chargers learned with Vincent Jackson in 2010, reducing the tender does not help in talks towards a long-term contract. Mankins and Jackson remained unsigned and sat out the first half of the season and the teams had to use the franchise tag on both the following offseason.
Wallace reportedly is seeking money comparable to the deals of Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, each of whom received $16 million-plus per year in extensions signed since last August. (Wallace and Johnson also share an agent, James "Bus" Cook.)
The Steelers might not be prepared to go that high on an extension, which could mean the franchise tag is in Wallace's future. If the salary cap remains flat, as it's expected to in 2013, the franchise tender for wide receivers would be worth around $9.5 million next season.