The Pittsburgh Steelers put a tender on wide receiver Mike Wallace on Monday. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers will pay Wallace $2.7 million in 2012 and will have the chance to match any offer given to the restricted free agent. If Pittsburgh decides not to match an offer, they will get a first-round draft pick in return.
Dulac also stated that negotiations have taken place between the Steelers’ front office and Wallace’s agent, Buss Cook.
On March 6th, General Manager Kevin Colbert told www.steelers.com that keeping the Pro Bowl receiver in the Steel City is definitely in the franchise’s plan.
“We want Mike to finish his career here,” said Colbert. “That will factor into our decision. You have the same right of first refusal on any offer he gets. If he was franchised, you would have to account for a significantly higher amount under your cap, which means we would have had to cut more players. You have to weigh that against the chances you’re going to have to match whatever kind of offer he gets.”
Jason La Canfora blogged on www.nfl.com that the Steelers are just $1.8 million under the salary cap. Pittsburgh has released six players and restructured a number of contracts this offseason to make cap room.
This gives Colbert and team President Art Rooney II very little room to match an offer given by another team, but I don’t think that the Steelers should worry about Wallace being taken from them.
Earlier in the offseason, Wallace hinted to the media that he would be open to playing with the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers. Well, the chances of either one of those teams wooing Wallace are slim-to-none.
Although the Patriots could use Wallace’s speed to stretch the field, it would be too far of a stretch to make an offer with the limited cap room that they have. As for the Niners, they just signed veteran receiver Randy Moss, which gives them the deep threat that they need to complement receiver Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis.
Colbert, Rooney, and head coach Mike Tomlin will be hoping a praying that Wallace won’t be on the radar of any other NFL team this offseason. With very little wiggle room cap-wise, and still needing money to pay rookies from the incoming 2012 NFL Draft, the Steelers definitely need to make some more cuts and restructure some more contracts in order to keep this boat afloat. But I will say that it was smart to tender Wallace. In the event that he does leave Pittsburgh, that first-round pick could be used to find another deep threat in the draft.
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