Mike Wallace's holdout could be coming to an end shortly.
Wallace, the Steelers' leading receiver, is expected to report to the team before the regular season begins, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. This doesn't guarantee that Wallace will be catching passes in Week 1 -- Schefter prefaced this with "he always could change his mind" -- but this is the first indication that Wallace is not planning to extend his holdout into the regular season.
Wallace, who has yet to sign his $2.7 million restricted free-agent tender, only needs to be on the roster for six weeks to be eligible for unrestricted free agency next season. So, there was always a chance he could repeat what Vincent Jackson did in 2010 and sit out the first 10 games of the regular season.
ESPN's John Clayton predicted Wallace will return to the Steelers before the start of the regular season in his weekly mailbag because Wallace will lose $159,000 each week in salary.
According to Clayton, the Steelers are offering a five-year contract worth more than $50 million. Wallace wants around $11.5 million per year.
The Steelers have the upper hand on Wallace for at least the next two seasons. Pittsburgh can keep him as a restricted free agent in 2011 and a franchise player in 2012 for a grand total of $13 million. An average of $6.5 million is a good value when you consider the team is offering $10 million per season.
Talks on a long-term contract with the Steelers won't resume until Wallace reports back to the team. That's why it makes sense for Wallace to do this sooner rather than later.