Markus Wheaton wants to remain in Pittsburgh, but he doesn't have much of a say in that decision.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' wide receiver recently spoke to Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times about his status moving forward with the team. Wheaton is set to become a free agent when the 2016 season is over.
“I want to stay here. That would be my first choice. Obviously, it’s business. We’ll see how it goes.”
The team's former third-round pick was plagued by a nagging shoulder injury this season, but remains the Steelers' second leading receiver since the start of the 2014 season. He was placed on IR last week, and his season ends with only four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown during Pittsburgh's Week 4 victory against the Chiefs. It is a far cry from just a season ago when he caught 44 passes for 749 yards and five touchdowns.
In his absence, receivers Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers, Cobi Hamilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey have stepped up and made big plays for the offense. With the team expecting to have no. 2 wideout Martavis Bryant back for the start of next season, Wheaton's future in Pittsburgh is in doubt.
Wheaton is in the final year of a four-year, $2,811,376 contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers that includes a $591,376 signing bonus ($591,376 guaranteed) and an average annual salary of $702,844. This season, Wheaton earned a base salary of $1,671,000.
While Wheaton almost certainly would like to remain with the Steelers beyond this season, the decision will likely come down to money.
Source: The Beaver County Times · Photo Credit: Images Courtesy of Keystone Press