Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agency: What Is Mike Wallace's Current Status?

Nick DeWittAnalyst IMarch 16, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 24:  Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs after the catch against the St. Louis Rams during the game on December 24, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Steelers won 27-0.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Before franchise tags were assigned and restricted free agents tendered, there was a ton of talk about Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace moving to another team.

To me, the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens would have all been good  initial fits, while particularly scary in two cases for Pittsburgh.

Wallace was given the highest tender by the Steelers. That means he’ll cost a first-round pick for any team that signs him away from Pittsburgh. That will scare off a lot of clubs.

Over the last few days, I’ve looked at the Patriots and the Miami Dolphins as good fits. While Miami seems to have fallen out of the Peyton Manning derby, acquiring Wallace might get them back into the running. Meanwhile, Tom Brady needs a field-stretching wide receiver.

In reality, the market has dried up quite a bit. There have been no new rumors regarding Wallace since free agency opened. Big names like Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson and others have signed or re-signed and Wallace may have to wait.

The contracts that have been given out are bad news for the Steelers, who will have to work hard to give Wallace anything like the megadeal that went to Calvin Johnson. Johnson might be the closest comparison to Wallace in terms of effect in an offense.

The Steelers have been quiet so far in free agency. That’s to be expected. There hasn’t, however, been many suggestions that the team will extend Wallace. They would have been better off trying to do so before free agency, since the market value for a guy like him seems to have now gone through the roof.

Wallace's latest status can best be described as “limbo.” That will likely remain true until teams have exhausted top free agent receivers and are looking at options that may cost them more dearly.

I would still place the Dolphins as a team that might be interested. The Steelers could certainly use the pick he’d bring in return.