According to sources, the Pittsburgh Steelers plan on trying to re-sign restricted free agent Mike Wallace but have no intentions of franchising him.
One day after reports surfaced that beloved Pittsburgh legend Hines Ward will be released, the Steelers cannot afford under any circumstances to lose Wallace in free agency. Since the Steelers are not willing to put the franchise tag on him, another team could still sign Wallace. Pittsburgh would then have the option to match the deal otherwise they will get a first-round draft pick in compensation if they lose him.
According to ESPN, it is not as if the Steelers do not want to franchise Wallace they just simply do not have the cap space. Franchise wide receivers are getting $9.5 million and Pittsburgh barely has enough to offer him $2.75 million. After the outstanding season Wallace had there is no wonder why he is trying to see what else is out there for him.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert sounded optimistic when talking about keeping Wallace.
“Having a great player like Mike Wallace is not a dilemma,” Colbert said, according to ESPN. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that Mike Wallace remains a Pittsburgh Steeler and I think that’s Mike’s belief as well. Usually when you have two parties that share the same goal, it’s easier to achieve that goal.”
As much as Wallace would like to remain a Steeler going forward he did admit that it might not work out that way.
“(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 told SiriusXM NFL Radio, according to ESPN. “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.”
In 17 games last season including the playoffs, Wallace had 75 receptions for 1,219 yards. His eight touchdowns led the team for the second straight year and he was voted to his first Pro Bowl this past season.
There is no doubt Wallace is the most productive receiver the Steelers have and without him quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is going to struggle making plays. Wallace and Ward were two of the top four receivers on the team last season which means Pittsburgh must figure out a way to make up for their production if they lose both players. Without any salary-cap space the Steelers will have no choice but to try and pick up a few talented wide receivers in the draft.