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Bouchette’s gut feeling on Mike Wallace: “Gone”

Steelers insider Ed Bouchette spent an hour on the 93.7 The Fan morning show,  talking all things Steelers.   Topics include Mike Wallace, Hines Ward, Steelers offseason, and more.  Below are some notes taken during the show on Ed’s thoughts of how he thinks things work out.  Remember, Bouchette prefaces his comments that this is his opinion and not necessarily what the team is thinking.  (Full audio link included at the end of the article.)

Based on his experience though, Ed is pretty spot on most of the time so if he says it you can feel confident that it’s got merit.

 On the subject of Mike Wallace:

Gut feeling if Wallace remains in Pittsburgh or leaves in free agency:  Gone!

Given their cap situation it seems like a no brainer to let Wallace go if another team signs him to an offer sheet.

Why sign him with a franchise tag (even if they could afford it), and then he ends up leaving next year anyways and you get nothing in return?  That’s a risk you take when allowing players to go the entire season on the 1 yr. deal.  He doesn’t seem like a guy who will give a hometown discount (even if you have time to negotiate a long term contract).  He’s going to want what he feels he’s worth.Take the first round pick, use it on an extra lineman or NT.  Don’t forget you might lose Wallace but you gain in another area.

The Steelers aren’t going to give Wallace the money that a Larry Fitzgerald would command, they are prepared to pass on him if the money is too big.

It would be a loss on the offense if he does leave but it’s not the end of the world. You still have a super star Quarterback, 2 good young receivers, Heath Miller, and the chance to bring back Jerricho Cotchery.

How much money do you sink into the receivers? You’re already going to have to pay Brown next year, can you justify giving Wallace a ton of money too? Don’t forget Sanders will be getting a pay raise the same time Brown does.

Stat the Ed pointed out just before the show ended: Last 9 games of 2011, Wallace averaged just over 46 yds. per game. His production did suffer but good receivers make the tough catches even if your QB over or under throws you. Mike should have come back and fought for more balls. He just doesn’t do that.

On why they haven’t made more moves this offseason with the deadline approaching to be under the cap:

Steelers methodically working the offseason right now. No reason to rush into restructures, They still have until March 13th. The team just has to be under the cap by then. After that point they can still work deals to free up more money.

They have other things to do as well right now with the combine, free agency, and the draft.

On Hines Ward:

Hines said he’d be willing to restructure. How much of a pay cut is he willing to take?  To date they haven’t talked to Ward about actually adjusting his contract and for how much.

Remember Bettis took significantly less money the last couple of years of his career so he could stay in Pittsburgh.

Ward can still play, not at the high level he used too but he could still contribute. Remember the coaches decided to bench Ward, it’s not necessarily that he couldn’t have still played had he been given more opportunities on the field.

On the possibility of Randy Moss coming in for a low price if Wallace leaves.

No Moss, No T.O, No Ochocinco. The Steelers don’t  have interest in old veterans like that who have virtually nothing left in the tank. Especially ones with baggage.

On Jerricho Cotchery:

Restricted Free Agents usually take longer to deal with because of the time frame involved. Steelers get a week to match any offer that Wallace would get. Cotchery being unrestricted, could get offers right away and may not want to wait around to see what Pittsburgh does. If Wallace does leave, Cotchery becomes much more important to resign.

If they do bring in a free agent receiver in addition to or in place of Cotchery they won’t after a top tier free receiver. They’ll go with a young talent, solid prospect, possibly someone who is currently a 3rd WR on another team.

On the subject of Ben Roethlisberger:

Still feels that it was a power play by Haley to not contact Roethlisberger right away. Todd came in and wanted to see how Ben would handle it.

Ben can get frustrated at times and speak out but it doesn’t hurt his production on the field. He will do what he has to do to help the Steelers. He wants to win super bowls, doesn’t care about stats. He’ll never be ranked high like with other elite Quarterbacks.

A caller asked if  Ben is mature enough to realize that when Art Rooney II saying that Ben may need to tweak his game he has Roethlisberger’s best interests at heart? Does Ben still have too much of a hero complex?

Ben is willing to do what they ask him to do, he’s a team guy.  That brash attitude has served him pretty well over the years. 2 super bowl wins and another appearance. It’s part of his make up and part of his game.

On Chris Kemoeatu:

If they were going to cut him they probably would have done it already. He may be willing to take a pay cut, and the Steelers don’t have a plethora of lineman as it is.


You can listen to the show here, courtesy of 93.7 The Fan

Ed Bouchette 2/23/12 – 93.7 The Fan

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