Pittsburgh Steelers: Potential Landing Spots for Mike Wallace
Personally, I don't think the options are as great as other people are saying they are, but the possibility is still there.
For a team to sign Wallace away from the Steelers, they are going to have to offer him a contract that will pay him at least $12-$15 million in 2012. That is a big number for any team to absorb.
Add to that that they will have to give the Steelers their first-round pick this year, and the odds of another team going after him go down even further.
I am going to examine the teams that MAY be interested and state why signing Wallace is either a good idea for them or a bad one.
Salary cap space is as of Feb. 28, per PFT.
Salary Cap Space: $9 million
2012 First-Round Pick: No. 29
Though the Ravens would love to steal Wallace away from the Steelers (even though they say they don't want to), they have other free agency issues of their own to deal with.
Ray Rice has been given the franchise tag (taking $6 million of that cap space), Joe Flacco is working on a contract that will pay him in the top 10 QBs in the league and Ben Grubbs has been meeting with the team about his future.
I don't think there is a chance that the Ravens go after Wallace.
New England Patriots
Salary Cap Space: $22 million
2012 First-Round Pick: No. 31
Okay Pats fans, think about having Mike Wallace running under Tom Brady passes.
Alright, you can quit now—it isn't going to happen.
For starters, Wes Welker is set to become a free agent and very well may be getting the franchise tag from the Patriots. Having to come up with $12-$15 million for Wallace along with the $10 for Welker would hurt the Pats in a way that I just can't see happening.
San Francisco 49ers
Salary Cap Space: $19 million
2012 First-Round Pick: No. 30
These first three teams are the most talked-about teams, but the only one I can see making a play for Wallace is the 49ers.
With the franchise tag they used on Dashon Goldson, the new contract of Ahmad Brooks, and Carlos Rogers and Alex Smith both being unrestricted free agents, the Niners will not have the money to give Wallace that the Steelers can't match.
Salary Cap Space: $23 million
2012 First-Round Pick: No. 19
Personally, I think if Mike Wallace were to leave the Steelers, the Bears would be one of the most likely destinations. Their pick is not too high that they would not want to give it up, and they have good salary cap space.
Yes, they need to address the Matt Forte situation, but Chicago needs a weapon like Wallace if they want to close the gap with the Lions and Packers. There is not a player on either team who can shut down Wallace.
Salary Cap Space: $40 million
2012 First-Round Picks: Nos. 17, 21
The Bengals are a very likely team to at least make a play for Wallace.
The real question is, would Wallace want to play there?
For starters, the Bengals are notoriously cheap. Would they be willing to pay Wallace enough that the Steelers couldn't match?
And would Wallace want to go to a team where he would be the second option? Andy Dalton already has great chemistry with last year's first-round pick, A.J. Green.
Salary Cap Space: $6 million
2012 First-Round Pick: No. 26
Yes, it would be wonderful for the Texans to get a speedy receiver like Mike Wallace to go along with Andre Johnson, but there isn't much room under the salary cap. The Texans have Mario Williams to try re-signing, and Adrian Foster is set to receive the franchise tag.
All of that is too much for Wallace to end up in Houston.
Salary Cap Space: $31 million
2012 First-Round Pick: No. 6
With the salary cap space available, you can bet the Redskins are going to go after at least one, maybe two top-tier receivers in this free agency period.
The problem is, if they want Wallace, they would have to give up the sixth pick in the draft. Though the Steelers would take that in a second, the Skins can't give up that pick if they want any hopes of trading up for Robert Griffin III in the draft.
Staying a Steeler?
It appears there is really only one team that would be able to offer Wallace a contract that the Steelers can't match and that has a low enough pick worthy of giving up for a restricted free agent.
Yes, the Bengals have the ammunition to make a serious run at Wallace, but will Wallace want to leave?
Why would you go from a team that has been in the playoffs two of your three years in the league, plus a Super Bowl appearance, to a team that has made the playoffs five times in his lifetime?
Yes, the Bengals COULD offer Wallace a lot of money, and if money alone is his sole reason for playing, then he could leave.
But Wallace is in a system with an amazing QB, one of the best in the league, and they have a chemistry that will make Wallace one of the best receivers in football.
He will be paid very well to stay in Pittsburgh, as Kevin Colbert has already stated he wants Wallace to remain a Steeler.
If winning is more important to Wallace than the money, then he is set to be with the Steelers for years to come.
If money is more important, the Steelers will use that draft pick to push the Bengals and Wallace out of the playoffs for years to come.