Now that the Todd Haley & Ben Roethlisberger soap opera can finally take a back seat to the real news; issues such as how to handle Mike Wallace are now firmly at the forefront. In an interview on SiriusXM today (as reported by the Pittsburgh Trib), Wallace spoke about how things are going so far this off season and his thoughts on remaining in Pittsburgh:
“(Pittsburgh is) where I would like to be, but we all know that it is a business and you have certain things you have to handle,” Wallace said. “So if I have to go elsewhere, you know Pittsburgh will always be in my heart, but I have to do what I have to do.”
He also commented on the status of ongoing contract talks between his agent and the Steelers:
“Yeah, we are talking, but I don`t know how far they are going to get right now because of the situation,” Wallace said. “I know that they are working hard trying to take care of it, but I don`t know. We`ll see.”
Wallace was asked about potentially playing for a team like New England or San Francisco:
“Most definitely. Those are two playoff caliber teams. Super Bowl caliber teams. “I think that the right person or the right piece for those guys could put them over the top. All they need is one more piece. Most definitely, those are Super Bowl contending teams.”
“I love being in a winning organization. And the quarterback. I don’t care how good you are, you won’t do well without a good quarterback.”
In listening to the interview (I love SiriusXM by the way, highly recommend it to everyone) I got the sense that Wallace wants to stay in Pittsburgh but he’ll be happy to go elsewhere to get the money he wants to make. You can’t blame him, if you have the chance to sign a $40+ million dollar contract (speculation on that number) you’re going to take it. He’s in the prime of his career having not even fully tapped his potential yet. That will be very enticing for teams who have money to spend and draft picks they are willing to part with. Potential suitors like Cincinnati, Baltimore. Cleveland, New England, and San Francisco could all use a deep, speed, threat like Wallace and all have enough cap room to make a big time offer that the Steelers may find too rich to handle.
This is a developing story that will be ongoing as the weeks go by until free agency starts on March 13th. I still say and will always say, if the Steelers want Wallace bad enough they’ll find a way to keep him. I’m not convinced he’ll be gone until it actually happens. Having said that though and as we’ve talked about before in this article, getting an extra 1st round pick is not exactly the worst thing in the world if you lose Wallace. A lot can be done with that situation and it could be a blessing in disguise. There are other things to consider; such as can you bring back Jerricho Cotchery to help out Brown and Sanders, are those 2 budding stars ready to be the primary targets in the passing game, can Sanders stay healthy etc.? We’ll explore those in future articles but for now Wallace’s future is clearly up in the air and we’ll have to see how it pans out.