Mike Wallace this, Mike Wallace that, it’s all the rage for the Steeler Nation right now. Will he stay, will he go, does the team want him, would they rather take the 1st round pick and let him walk? All these questions are front and center as the March 13th deadline approaches for the Steelers to get under the salary cap. Also because of Wallace’s comments on SiriusXM on Wednesday where he mentioned that “he’ll do what he has to do”. You can see more of what Wallace said in this article we posted up yesterday. It’s not uncommon for free agents to do some posturing on the national media when their contact is up. It stirs the pot and gets the fans going, hopefully in support of the player, and keeps him in the forefront of not only his current team but also potential new employers.
One question seems to have a more firm answer now though; Kevin Colbert talked at media day at the NFL Scouting Combine and of course the topic of Wallace was brought up. As Gregg Rosenthal of ProFootballTalk reported today:
Colbert: We want Mike Wallace to finish career in Pittsburgh
Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on February 23, 2012, 12:28 PM EST
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure Mike Wallace remains a Pittsburgh Steeler. And I think that’s Mike’s hope as well. Usually when you have two parties that share the same goal, it’s easier to achieve that goal,” Colbert said.
Colbert confirmed the franchise tag is still an option, but he’s waiting to find out the final salary cap number from the NFL.
“We want to make sure Mike can finish his career with the Steelers. I’m very confident that Mike wants to finish his career with the Steelers and play with a great quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger. . . . We think he’s only scratched the surface in what he can do,” Colbert said after PFT asked him about slashing salary cap space to make room for Wallace’s franchise number.
Salary cap problems are almost always overstated. NFL teams find a way to hold on to players that they truly want to keep. Colbert indicated that more roster cuts and restructures are coming. *(On Hines Ward, Colbert said only that Ward is still on the roster.)
The speculation is everywhere that just because Wallace is a restricted free agent that teams are going to be willing to give up their first round draft pick for him. That is a very rare occurrence because those picks are so valuable. We certainly cannot assume that Wallace is automatically gone just because of the price tag he’ll carry.
This year is a bit unique in that Wallace is a top receiver in the NFL, arguably one of the best deep threats in the game, and there are teams drafting near the position that the Steelers are that may be in the market for a receiver like Wallace. If Cincinnati, Baltimore, or New England feeds like they can benefit immediately from the addition of Wallace (and why wouldn’t they) then giving up a first rounder as compensation may not be such a bad idea.