The receiving combination of Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown were one of the most lethal combinations in the NFL in 2011. If Wallace decides to return to the Steelers on a one-year tendered contract from the Steelers, Pittsburgh will be forced at the end of 2012 to possibly having to choose between these two players.
Wallace will have played out the one-year tender at the end of next season, and the only way the Steelers would be able to guarantee his return in 2013 would be to use the franchise tag on him, something they were not willing to do this year.
Antonio Brown will be playing in his third season with the Steelers in 2013. Like Wallace this year, the Steelers could tender Brown next season and get a first-round pick as compensation if they fail to sign him.
That leads to the question: if not both, which one should the Steelers make the long-term commitment to going into the future?
Both players appear to be great at what they do. However, the reality is not many teams can afford to keep two players at the same position.
I think it is obvious to say that the Steelers should keep the player that is going to have a better NFL career, but the not so obvious question is, which one is it going to be?
Here we will take a look at these two players, and determine which of the two, that the Steelers SHOULD keep.
Mike Wallace - 6'0" 199 pounds
Antonio Brown - 5'10" 186 pounds
Mike Wallace - 72, 1,193 yards.
Antonio Brown - 69, 1,108 yards
For everyone that believes we should count Brown's return yardage, we can't. If Wallace leaves and Brown is signed to the long-term deal, there is no chance that Mike Tomlin is going to be using him on special teams.
The strongest asset of Mike Wallace without any question is his speed. There may not be anyone in the NFL that is as fast as Wallace.
Brown has a great deal of speed himself. Is he as fast as Wallace? No, but what he lacks in speed he makes up for in other areas.
Brown is clearly the better route runner. Some people say that Wallace is a "one trick pony," while Brown is looked at as having much improved route running.
Who do you think of when considering the Steelers greats? The John Stallworth 73-yard TD pass against the Rams in Super Bowl XLV? The amazing catches of Lynn Swann in Super Bowl X? Hines Ward and his TD on the reverse pass from Randle El? The Super Bowl XLIII catch from Holmes that got him the MVP?
All of these Steelers greats have signature plays in the biggest of games. Yes, Wallace had an amazing catch to defeat the Packers with no time on the clock. That was a regular-season game.
The TD reception here in this video shows Antonio Brown making a 57-yard catch to put the Steelers in position to defeat the Ravens and go to the Super Bowl.
THIS is a signature catch.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a long history of great receivers. They have Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, all former Steelers receivers.
Lynn Swann, Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes have all been Super Bowl MVP's.
John Stallworth and Lynn Swann are both in the Hall of Fame.
Whoever the Steelers pick has some mighty large shoes to fill, but it would be nice to have both Wallace and Brown. The combination could be as lethal as the Swann and Stallworth tandem that led the Steelers' first dynasty.