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Steelers could use franchise tag on RFA Wallace

Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Denver Broncos Getty Images

The Steelers don’t have any unrestricted free agents that would make sense as franchise tag candidates.  But they still may use the tag.

Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert said via Scott Brown the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the team hasn’t ruled out placing the tag on restricted free agent Mike Wallace.

“Certainly Mike has done a lot to establish himself as a Pro Bowl receiver, and we want to try to keep Mike here for the long run,” Colbert said.

This is a case where the new CBA may directly lead to more money for elite players like Wallace. In the past, teams were much less likely to consider placing the franchise tag on RFAs because the cost of signing Wallace away from Pittsburgh would have been prohibitive.

The highest tender the Steelers can place on Wallace now is a first-round pick tender. In the past, interested teams needed to cough up a first- and third-round pick plus a new contract to sign away top-shelf restricted free agents.

Essentially, would a team like the Patriots picking late in the first round be willing to give up a first-round pick to sign Wallace? That question has to worry Pittsburgh.

The more we think about it, the more likely it is that the Steelers will eat up some of their cap space by using the tag on Wallace if they can’t reach a long-term deal.

The other alternative is too risky.

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28 Responses to “Steelers could use franchise tag on RFA Wallace”
  1. bettis3636 says: Feb 14, 2012 9:23 AM

    Just like they did with Woodley… Mike is gonna get paid… BUT i dont see big $$ in his future… with all the talent Pitt has Wallace disappeared in the tailend of the season… he will def get re signed though…

  2. raylangivens says: Feb 14, 2012 9:23 AM

    Do it.

  3. cheapseater says: Feb 14, 2012 9:31 AM

    We (Jags) should give one first, one third, and one left nut to sign a guy like Wallace.

  4. heyzeus143 says: Feb 14, 2012 9:36 AM

    could trade him for higher first round pick but they won’t, for some reasons the steelers love having this receiver who never fights for the ball, makes tough catches in space and over the middle, and has one of his trademark long bombs actually work out 1 out of every 30 times thrown to, trade him while he still has value but they won’t

  5. farvefromover says: Feb 14, 2012 9:38 AM

    Mike Wallace can’t read. He once used laundry detergent to make mashed potatoes

  6. steelerfanjo says: Feb 14, 2012 9:40 AM

    The reason he disappeared is the idiot Arians quit throwing the ball towards him. Arians is now the Colts new nightmare. Get Mike signed and let’s get RING 7.

  7. redlobster1984 says: Feb 14, 2012 9:53 AM

    To franchise Wallace it would be roughly 10 million , if the Steelers couldn’t come to a long term deal with him there seems absolutely no way they could fit that 10 million under the salary cap considering they are still around 10 million over it after all the restructuring.

  8. 49erstim says: Feb 14, 2012 10:01 AM

    They’ll probably point to their salary cap deficiency and ask for a very cap-friendly hometown discount.

  9. 13forgbp says: Feb 14, 2012 10:01 AM

    What kind of headline is this? Of course the Steelers could use the franchise tag on him…..just like they could use it on any ufa…..just like any team could franchise any ufa at this point.

  10. pittsburghavenue says: Feb 14, 2012 10:06 AM

    At this point with Arians gone and Haley at the offensive helm, they need to stay as consistent as possible, not only to please Ben, but to keep the younger recievers in the groove.

    Keep Wallace at all cost!

  11. rmc1995 says: Feb 14, 2012 10:06 AM

    Why would they pay this guy big money if Roethlisberger thinks Wallace and the other young receivers will take a step back trying to learn a new offense?

  12. raven410 says: Feb 14, 2012 10:14 AM

    Tag him for what? Put the tender on him and call it a day. Stop being paranoid.

  13. dachozen1 says: Feb 14, 2012 10:19 AM

    If they are going to keep him, they must find more creative ways to get the ball in his hands during big games. He has been virtually silent in the playoffs and towards the end of the season. Hopefully, Haley will be able to move him around enough (slot /backfield) to make defenses have to prepare more and give Steelers better mismatches. The man runs a 4.2 waking up. There is no way a good coach allows this man to be a non factor in so many games with this type of talent. He is grossly under used and I put most of the blame on the predictable offense the Steelers run. They have the same players in the same spot all of the time. A DC doesnt have to do much to prepare.

  14. cappa662 says: Feb 14, 2012 10:42 AM

    Come to the Bears and help out Cutler!!!!!!! Who care’s about the #1 pick, rookies can’t play… and the Bears are infamous for botching first round picks anyways.

  15. beavertonsteve says: Feb 14, 2012 10:45 AM

    Whoever scouts college receivers for the Steelers deserves a raise.

  16. tommythek says: Feb 14, 2012 10:52 AM

    Stairway to 7 just got extended to 2 Empire State Bldgs

  17. east96st says: Feb 14, 2012 10:57 AM

    It will never happen because of the cap issues and the fact that the two owners’ families are so close, but I would love to see the Giants give up their first for Wallace. Last pick in the first round for Wallace would be the steal of the century. Wallace, Nicks, and Cruz would destroy any secondary in the NFL. Wallace has HOF potential. No way Pittsburgh lets him get away.

  18. contract says: Feb 14, 2012 11:11 AM

    “The other alternative is too risky.”

    No, it’s not. As a general rule teams don’t line up to part with their 1st rd picks for RFA WRs. But if some team offers him a contract, we will either match it, or take the 1st rd pick and move on.

  19. rabidbillsfan says: Feb 14, 2012 11:19 AM

    I guess reading the article after the headline is Overrated… I mean Wallace is a RFA and not an UFA after all. Gotta agree with the guys talking cap hit. The $10 mil cap hit from the Tag won’t be far off from what Wallace will want. Also, there is a guy named Desean Jackson who also looks to be paid. Look for these two to move hand in hand in contract talks. Buffalo would also be wise to sign Stevie before these 2 cash in. Stevies value is higher as he has the skill set as a #1 and not just a deep-threat burner. Look for $7-8 mil for Wallace/Jackson and $9 mil for Johnson.

  20. cannonballdookie says: Feb 14, 2012 11:23 AM

    This is kinda scary, they should probably try and lock him up very soon.

    I’m not a draft guru but from the mock drafts I’ve seen, there’s not a ton of first round talent at WR. He’d certainly be a better pick than any of the other WR’s on the board, so a lot of teams should be willing to trade a first rounder for him.

  21. originalsteelcurtain says: Feb 14, 2012 11:23 AM

    …several point out that Wallace declined at the end of the season.

    Did the timing of Wallace’s decline coincide with Ben’s gruesome foot injury?

    Why yes it did!

    The Steelers were a legitimate SB contender in 2011…until Ben got his foot smashed in Cleveland. The O really struggled to score after the injury (except when Batch played and the Steelers won 27-0). Deep balls to Wallace became non-existant.

    Wallace has rare speeed and is an improving WR in every way…no longer a Tomlin “one trick pony”.

    Mike will get paid and it will be by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  22. ahostiletakeover says: Feb 14, 2012 12:13 PM

    Teams covet their draft picks more often than not. As solid as Wallace has been, no one is going to give up a 1st AND a 3rd for him. And even if someone comes calling, Pittsburgh has the right to match the other team’s offer regardless. Same situation with my Ravens and Lardarius Webb. As excellent as he has been in 2 of his 3 years in the league, not many front offices are gonna pony up a 1st and a 3rd for any player. Pittsburgh should save their franchise tag for an UNRESTRICTED FA if they need to.

  23. Deb says: Feb 14, 2012 12:23 PM

    It’s long been Steelers organizational policy not to overpay for receivers because they only touch the ball a few times a game. But it’s a new pass-heavy game, and if we franchise Wallace, that would soothe the ruffled feathers of our pouting QB. I’m not crazy about the idea, but definitely want to keep our athletic young receiving corps intact. If Colbert thinks this is the way to handle it, I’ll trust his judgment.

  24. bluvayner says: Feb 14, 2012 12:36 PM

    Why would the Patriots give up a first round draft choice, and sign the player to a big contract, when they could simply sign an unrestricted free agent receiver, and keep the draft choice.

  25. daryllh says: Feb 14, 2012 12:38 PM

    all pats have to do is use a poison pill in their contract offer. write in that if Pats win super bowl, he gets 25 million a year. Steelers wont dare match and pats wont ever win another super bowl with Billy B coaching so its a can’t lose contract.

  26. dickroy says: Feb 14, 2012 1:32 PM

    I think the Steelers will find a way to keep Wallace and Brown. They need to.
    I actually think that Brown will turn out to be the better of the two.

  27. tedmurph says: Feb 14, 2012 1:51 PM

    Pats have to pay Welker, which they will. They’re not gonna turn around and give up a 1rst rounder and pay Wallace too. 20mil and a first rnd pik for two receivers is not the way the Pats do business. Still, if a team needs a receiver and can’t get the Okl St kid, Wallace would prob be better than any other WR in the draft. A lot of teams have $ to spend. Don’t see how the steelers can afford the 9.4 mil cap hit to tag him or find the bonus $ to sign him.

  28. tedmurph says: Feb 14, 2012 1:54 PM

    @ahostiletakeover:
    It’s not a 1rst and 3rd anymore under the new CBA, just a first.

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