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Steelers won’t use franchise tag on Mike Wallace

Brandon Carr AP

Last week Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert said the team is committed to keeping soon-to-be free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace, and the franchise tag was still an option. But now that teams are free to use the franchise tag, the Steelers have reportedly decided against it.

Instead, the Steelers will use the first-round restricted free agent tender, not the franchise tag, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

It’s easy to see why the Steelers wouldn’t use the franchise tag: They’re cap-strapped as it is, and the franchise tag costs about $9.4 million. The first-round restricted free agent tender only costs about $2.7 million.

But it’s also easy to see why this makes it more likely that Wallace could leave: A team that signs him away will only have to give the Steelers one first-round pick, whereas if they had used the franchise tender the Steelers would have received two first-round picks from a team that signed him.

And so we’ll soon see whether some team thinks it’s worth spending a first-round draft choice and a lot of money on one of the best deep threats in the league. And if some team does, we’ll see whether the Steelers decide that they simply can’t afford a big contract for Wallace, and that they’ll be content with an extra first-round pick.

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43 Responses to “Steelers won’t use franchise tag on Mike Wallace”
  1. PFTiswhatitis says: Mar 1, 2012 10:31 AM

    I’d love to see the Pats steal him away from the Steelers.

  2. myspaceyourface says: Mar 1, 2012 10:31 AM

    I think this is a WIN WIN for the Steelers.

    If they can sign Wallace, I would be pleased, but it’s not a bad deal to get another 1st round pick.

    Plaxico
    Hampton
    Troy P.
    Ben
    Heath
    Holmes
    Timmons
    Mendenhall
    Ziggy
    Pouncey
    Heyward

    Steelers know what to do with a first round pick. 2 of them would be crazy.

  3. steelbydesign says: Mar 1, 2012 10:31 AM

    Nobody is going to give up a first rounder for Wallace + a big fat contract.

    He’s very good but I wouldn’t say he’s a top 5 caliber WR

  4. dickroy says: Mar 1, 2012 10:32 AM

    Some team will go after him.

  5. ttommytom says: Mar 1, 2012 10:34 AM

    Good luck with San Fran’s 30th pick in round 1.

  6. ziggy26 says: Mar 1, 2012 10:35 AM

    There are a lot of free agent wide receivers this season. A team would have to dish out a first-round pick, and pay Wallace to pry him away from Pittsburgh.

    Plus, since the Steelers have the option to match any contract offer, a team would really have to front-load the deal to keep Pittsburgh out of the running.

    So basically, to acquire Mike Wallace, a team would have to overpay in the short term and give Pittsburgh a first round pick. It really doesn’t make a ton of sense for a team to do that, especially given the available free agents and the upcoming draft class.

  7. subzero00 says: Mar 1, 2012 10:36 AM

    A team with a low draft pick will grab him. Patriots, Ravens, or Saints.

  8. We'reFineThere says: Mar 1, 2012 10:37 AM

    Umm… I was in the back half of the draft I would strongly consider this… by that I mean teams like the Bears, Niners, or the Rams #22 pick… maybe the Patriots too

  9. vegaskid21 says: Mar 1, 2012 10:38 AM

    MW going to get paid. Good for him..

  10. mrjackson206 says: Mar 1, 2012 10:39 AM

    All I can say is welcome to the Niners Mike Wallace!! Steelers fans too bad so sad.

  11. billybob91 says: Mar 1, 2012 10:43 AM

    New England, Baltimore, or San Francisco will be his destinations next season in that order

  12. jgreiner9 says: Mar 1, 2012 10:43 AM

    Why not the texans. They could use another WR who can stretch out the field and compliment Andre. Plus he’s a way better option then jacoby jones or Kevin Walter.

  13. bhester1906 says: Mar 1, 2012 10:47 AM

    I Know that they are in the RG3 conversation but….If they use that 4th on a OL, Richardson, Claiborne and then burn that late pick on Wallace they are set. They will have two shut down corners for years, strong reciever group, and weaken their division rivals at the same time. You can’t beat that…

  14. ttommytom says: Mar 1, 2012 10:47 AM

    It has nothing to do with top 5 etc. Has to do with value. As in cost vs production for a given system.
    Unseen production too, like NE smothering Cruz which freed up Nicks.

    1st round receivers are 50 per cent busts, then the learning curve.

    No super bowl without Cruz. Wallace would be scary with NE. Who cares about top 5. Who do you cover?

  15. thetruth1313 says: Mar 1, 2012 10:50 AM

    As a Patriots fan, I am intrigued at the possibility. The Pats would be trading the 31st pick in the 1st round for a proven receiver that is still young.

    The Hooded One hasnt really produced when drafting receivers. Since the franchise tag wont be placed on him, Wallace sort of loses his leverage for a big payday. He can stay in Pittsburg and make 2.7 million or he can get a long term contract and make more but much lower than what the franchise tag would allow.

  16. myspaceyourface says: Mar 1, 2012 10:51 AM

    Good luck with your QB getting him the ball.

  17. marvinmillersucks says: Mar 1, 2012 10:59 AM

    If a team signs wallace, they have to give up the pick that they “earned” with their record, not a pick they got from another team in a trade, if that’s what your talkin about with your vague post bhester…. typical brownie fan from The Factory of Sadness…

  18. brooklynniner19 says: Mar 1, 2012 11:02 AM

    I actually think 9ers need a bigger body Wr. And is Wallace a blocking type Wr? If not wouldn’t fit Harbaugh system !

  19. mikemart77 says: Mar 1, 2012 11:04 AM

    Giving up the 1st isn’t too bad. It’s the contract that will be a killer for most teams. To make sure the Steelers don’t match, a team is going to have to heavily front-load the contract with a big roster bonus. Anyone signing him is going to be giving him $10-15 million+ this year alone.

  20. steelerdynasty2010 says: Mar 1, 2012 11:09 AM

    i like it

  21. cbass59 says: Mar 1, 2012 11:21 AM

    Further, if a team really wants a wide receiver, it could sign Marques Colston or Vincent Jackson without having to give up a first-round pick.

  22. Steeley McBeam says: Mar 1, 2012 11:28 AM

    Lets get a couple things straight…

    1) A team has to give up THEIR first round pick, not a pick they aquire via trade from another team. So anyone who thinks the Browns can choose to give up the #22 pick over the #4, sorry.

    2) The franchise tender is the average of the top-5 WR saleries. So unless a team wants to make Wallace a top-2 paid WR in the NFL, the number that the Steelers will have to match in the first year of his contact will be less than the 9.5 million franchise tag. Meaning they will re-sign Wallace to a smaller number in year 1 as part of a long-term deal.

    3) Not only would a team have to make him one of the highest paid WRs in the league, but they also have to give up a first round pick. I’m as big a Steelers fan as anyone and I want Wallace back but even I know hes not worth a first round pick and top-3 WR money.

    So its not that they couldnt find a way to make room for the franchise tag, its that any offer they have to match will likely cost them less in the first year of a long-term contract. Why slap a one-year tender and pay more than you would in the first year of a long-term deal?

  23. nardointhenati says: Mar 1, 2012 11:31 AM

    Well lets see the Bengals have plenty of money and 2 first round picks. With Jerome Simpson and Andre Calwell likely to be moving on would it make sense to drop a wad of $$$ on Wallace? A.J. Green on one edge, Wallace on the other, Shipley in his natural slot position, and Gresham at TE…. The Dalton Gang would be loaded.

  24. chc36 says: Mar 1, 2012 11:31 AM

    I’d prefer the steelers keep him at this point. Force them to deal with his contract by cutting other players and damaging their system more than just letting Wallace go, plus they don’t get an extra pick do as a Ravens fan, I want him to stay put.

  25. havok82 says: Mar 1, 2012 11:37 AM

    Giving up the 31st pick in the draft when you also have the 27th pick and 2 second rounders? That’s not bad. Paying him and Welker? That could be bad. I won’t cry if the Pat’s don’t attempt this, but I would be happy if they did. He’s a proven commodity and BB has sucked at drafting WR’s.

  26. dickroy says: Mar 1, 2012 11:37 AM

    I really would love to keep Wallace. He and Brown make a great pair of deep threats. Together they are probably the best in the league. I would hate to see our secondary have to try an cover Mike.

  27. jr4real says: Mar 1, 2012 12:18 PM

    Someone will offer him a contract. He has an agent and there are a lot of dumb teams out there.

    A fool and his money….

  28. JC says: Mar 1, 2012 12:28 PM

    If Mike Wallace ends up on the Patriots long term, I guarantee at least 3 more Superbowls for Brady. That combination would be lethal.

  29. theemrsanity says: Mar 1, 2012 12:38 PM

    It has to be a teams original pick. In other words Cleveland would have to give up the 4th, which they wouldn’t do for him. NE on the other hand, or any other team in the bottom half might. Tell me a receiver you can draft in the 1st round that is under 25 and already proven to be productive. Plus until this year you would have paid top dollar to an unproven talent in the 1st round anyway. And while Pit can technically match an offer, they can barely afford to, and will be right back in the same boat next year with Sanders and Brown.

  30. tedmurph says: Mar 1, 2012 12:38 PM

    @steeleymcbeam:

    Get this straight, the franchise tag is no longer calculated as the ave of the top 5 WR. It’s the ave tender amt over the last 5 yrs, that’s why it is significantly lower this yr. Also, the tag amt has nothing to do with the amt or bonus any team can put on an offer sheet. He’ll prob get a contract offer similar to BMarshall, which has a cap hit of 10mil/yr. The steelers don’t have the $ to match. With the amt of WR busts coming out of the draft, a proven commodity like Wallace is worth a late 1rst rnd pick

  31. uwsptke says: Mar 1, 2012 1:00 PM

    It really won’t be difficult for a team with a late first round pick to sign him now if they are motivated. They can easily structure a deal that gives him a large 2012 cap number that would be impossible to match.

    They’ve pushed $25 million of cap hits out so far. Eventually, they will have to pay the piper.

  32. tommikula says: Mar 1, 2012 1:03 PM

    CLEVELAND!!! Sign him now!!!!!

  33. clayton43 says: Mar 1, 2012 1:11 PM

    If I was a team in need of a WR and had the cap space.. I most definately would take him and glady give up a first round pick. You get a top WR in league you would be paying someone in FA anyway if went that route… A first round pick is a small price to payafter round 20 … First round receivers are at an average of 35 percent working out as far 1st round talent/ expecctations. Go back and look at previous first round picks last 15 years and see what ya get.

    As Steelers fan, I am ok either way.. If we can get a first round pick NT/ ILB/ OL and get 2 of those guys we want for long term and obviously cheap… I am goodd with that .. I will gladly roll with Brown Sanders Cotchry and we can draft or F/A some other talent to ccome in.. Ben is throwing to them so they will be ok regardless who it is he is throwing to.

    Love Wallace, but I do think that guys like him with speed will always be available.

  34. goldrush36 says: Mar 1, 2012 1:22 PM

    I Would take him. He would certainly be better than the last clown to wear #17 in SF lol. Also just about every receiver in this draft is overrated and are huge boom or bust prospects including precious little Crabtree 2.0 err I mean Blackmon. The guy makes plays, but he leaves a ton of them on the field as well and it won’t get any easier in the NFL. Wallace on the other hand is a proven commodity, is still young enough to mold to your offensive scheme as well. He does need to develop more on the complete route tree and no just the go route.

  35. cbass59 says: Mar 1, 2012 1:32 PM

    If Cleveland signs him, he’ll instantly become their best WR ever.

    I’ll take the #4 pick for Wallace in a heartbeat.

  36. mikemyditka says: Mar 1, 2012 1:36 PM

    The Pats aren’t going to give a huge contract to both Welker or Wallace. If they sign Wallace it would have to be something huge like 5 year 75 million for the Steelers not to match, which is ridiculous, plus they lose a draft pick and lose Welker. Still want to do the deal?

  37. thevoiceofreason1 says: Mar 1, 2012 1:44 PM

    The Ravens won’t sign him. They don’t build through high-priced FA, and they don’t give up first round draft picks.

  38. mikemyditka says: Mar 1, 2012 1:49 PM

    Too bad the pats didnt draft him when they had the chance. They had the pick ahead of Wallace in the third round of the 2009 draft, and instead took WR Brandon Tate. Ouch.

  39. Deb says: Mar 1, 2012 1:50 PM

    I’m with dickroy–someone will take that deal. The bottom line is that Wallace is a sure thing; even a first-round draft pick is still an unknown. But I’m okay with the Steelers taking this route. We’ve lost great receivers before and always managed to compensate.

  40. kingbuccaneer says: Mar 1, 2012 1:54 PM

    Damn, this guy is EXACTLY what we need! But… not for the #5 overall pick.. We NEED to pick up V Jackson and draft Morris

    If we could work it out to give Pitt next years 1st rounder I am ALL for it.

  41. thetruth1313 says: Mar 1, 2012 2:06 PM

    How do some of you think it will have to be well over 10-15 million a season?

    The franchise tag is 9.4 million and the Steelers are basically avoiding the franchise tag so they wont have to pay that much since they dont have the room. The Patriots can come in and say “hey Mike, Pittsburg can only pay you 2.7 million for 1 year, we will trade for you and give you 6 million a year for 3 years” (throwing out a round number here folks for arguements sake).

    So the Steelers will have to match that 6 million or he walks and the Steelers get the Patriots 1st round pick (their 31st). Its simple math, take a 1 year deal for 2.7 million or go else where and make more. No one is giving Mike Wallace over 10 million a year- I dont see it personally. He has a bright future, but he needs to learn a few more routes before he gets that kind of money.

  42. henrykissingerisgod says: Mar 1, 2012 3:14 PM

    Why would the niners give up a first rounder for Wallace? They already have a player just like him in ginn…the only difference is big Ben has been throwing to Wallace and henne and smith have been throwing to ginn

  43. mrslay1 says: Mar 1, 2012 5:11 PM

    The Pats don’t need him, but the Rams will sure use him well.

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