Mike Wallace could end up with Steelers' division rival
By Chris Wesseling
Published: February 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM PST
Modified: February 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM PST
The Steelers have no plans to slap the franchise tag on wide receiver Mike Wallace , which means that the free agent's days in Pittsburgh are numbered .
The news gets worse for Steelers fans. According to CBSSports.com's Jason LaCanfora, many in the organization believe the division-rival Cleveland Browns are Wallace's most likely landing spot next month.
LaCanfora has broken several Wallace-related stories over the past year, which suggests a pipeline to agent Bus Cook or another member of the Wallace camp. New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was a former minority owner of the Steelers , so he has first-hand knowledge of Wallace's talents.
More important than those tangential ties, a Wallace signing makes sense for Cleveland on a football level. New head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner are installing a vertical offense that is ideally suited to Wallace's strengths as a speedster with the ability to take the top off of defenses.
Second only to the Cincinnati Bengals in salary cap space, the Browns are expected to be big spenders under Haslam. They are one of the few teams with the deep pockets to handle Wallace's reported request of a contract in the neighborhood of Vincent Jackson 's five-year, $55 million pact.
Should Wallace land in Cleveland, it's a good bet that he will not be catching passes from quarterback Brandon Weeden . Per LaCanfora, the new Browns regime "badly wants to upgrade " on the 2012 first-round pick. New VP of player personnel Michael Lombardi called the Weeden selection a "panicked disaster " last offseason.
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling .