The city of Pittsburgh released a collective sigh of relief today when numerous sources reported Steelers’ star wide receiver Mike Wallace’s intention to end his hold out.
Wallace spent the entirety of Steeler training camp refusing to accept the team’s contract extension offer, which totaled $2.7 million. Wallace, deeming the sum insufficient, has remained absent from organized team activity since the end of the 2011-2012 season.
Now entering his fourth professional season, all spent with the Steelers, Wallace has dazzled not only Pittsburgh but the entire league with his exceptional speed and agility. Last season saw Wallace reel in a career-bests in total receptions, with 72, and total receiving yards, with 1,193.
Wallace earned a base salary of $395,000 in 2011, one of the lowest totals on the team. Furthermore, Wallace’s salary registered significantly lower than those of other top-shelf NFL receivers, such as former Pittsburgh Panther and current Arizona Cardinal, Larry Fitzgerald, who added $21,500,000 to his coffers last year alone.
While few would claim that Wallace’s play in 2011 rivaled that of Fitzgerald’s, the Steeler receiver’s base salary totaled much less than other pro receivers with comparable productivity.
That aside, Wallace’s return will undoubtedly serve as a reinvigorating shot of enthusiasm for what has been a dismal pass game in two games this preseason. The Steelers have totaled only 158.5 pass yards, 27th in the league. While little significance can be placed in preseason statistics, the Steelers‘ pass game is unquestionably lacking without Wallace’s presence.
Fellow receiver Antonio Brown and veteran tight end Heath Miller will undoubtedly enjoy Wallace’s presence. Wallace faces the possibility of facing defensive double-coverage during the 2012-2013 season, leaving the door open for Brown and Miller to exploit the mismatch.
With the tandem of Wallace and Brown at wideout, not to mention the assistance of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers‘ offensive squad is a force to be reckoned with going into the new season. Brown, entering his third year in the league, played sparingly during the 2010 season, but excelled during the extended playing time he got during the course of 2011-2012. Brown snagged 69 passes in 2011 and two touchdowns in 2012, and is seen by many as a rising star amidst the league’s receivers! While Wallace’s holdout caused more than a few headaches throughout the Steeler Nation, fans can be comforted in the knowledge that their star speedster will take the field without further ado in 2012.
Photo Credits: Reuters Pictures