With the Steelers not planning to use the franchise tag on receiver Mike Wallace or any other player, Wallace will go to the highest bidder.
With the Steelers not inclined or able to be the highest bidder for any player, Wallace will go somewhere other than Pittsburgh.
Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports something that has been obvious to us for weeks: Wallace will be the top free-agent target for the Dolphins.
Wallace perfectly fits Miami’s needs, both from a football and a business standpoint. As to the former (and as we’ve been saying), a field-stretching receiver (something Greg Jennings isn’t) opens up the rest of the offense for everyone else. By drawing attention deep, the slot receiver and the tight ends can find plenty of room to operate, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill will have an even better opportunity to develop.
As to the latter, landing a player like Wallace can generate excitement in the fan base, take attention away from that basketball team in Miami (if only for a day), and maybe help sell some tickets and jerseys and hats and other stuff bearing the soon-to-be-unveiled new logo.
Of course, Wallace and his agent will know that, allowing them to apply a thumb or two (or other appendages) to the scale. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross may not care. He has both the cash and the cap space to overpay Wallace, and after failing in high-profile fashion to land guys like Jim Harbaugh in 2011 and both Jeff Fisher and Peyton Manning last year, we’ve got a feeling Ross will be ready to hand Wallace a blank check.
That said, there’s a chance that, yet again, Ross will end up providing the leverage for the deal that the target gets done elsewhere.