Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace has yet to sign his restricted free-agent tender. Wallace no longer can negotiate with other teams, and the Steelers will not trade the deep-threat, leaving Wallace with just two options: Stay home or double his career earnings by signing the $2.742 million tender.
Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis told NFL Network's "NFL AM" that Wallace doesn't understand how the organization operates, and the best way to get a long-term deal would be to report to the team.
"I think when you go through the history of the Steelers, they do things a bit differently," Bettis said Thursday. "And when you look at in relationship to their stars, they still stay one way. They're firm in their resolve and the way they do things. All you have to do is go back to Hines Ward.
"His situation, he had a holdout before his last contract. He wanted X-amount of dollars, and they were one way. At the end of the day, they told Hines he needed to come into camp before they would consummate a deal. And Hines had to come in, and he came in, and once he came in, they were able to work the deal out.
"But the problem is, you know, Mike (Wallace) doesn't really understand the concept of how the Steelers work, and so he's got to kind of figure that out. Once he figures that out and comes in, I think they'll work a deal out."
The Ward and Wallace situations are similar in that they're both receivers who were looking for more money. However, Ward was in the final year of his second contract when he skipped the first three weeks of the Steelers' 2005 training camp. Wallace isn't signed, and thus not obligated to attend camp, and is looking for his second contract.
In the end, however, "The Bus" is right. Wallace (whose agent is James "Bus" Cook) has limited options, and his best bet would be to return to the fold.