Mike Wallace: What Pittsburgh Could Do If They Can't Keep Him
Mike Wallace is a Pro Bowl receiver and one of the best receivers in this league. Because of those two facts, Wallace appears to be following in the footsteps of other receivers, by threatening to not sign his first-round tender offer, and potentially holding out.
While Wallace is definitely worth a big deal, he's only 25 and his best years are surely still to come, the track record of the Steelers shows that Wallace probably won't get such a huge deal. Pittsburgh has never been a team that pays big name receivers with huge contracts, except for Hines Ward. Mike Wallace could end up going the way of Plaxico Burress, and leaving Pittsburgh for bigger money after he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
If the Steelers predict this could happen, they would be wise to start planning for a life without Wallace and prepare accordingly.
The only step that makes sense in a situation like that, would be to draft another receiver who fits the mold of what they'd be losing. Luckily for the Steelers, there are receivers in the draft who could essentially become the next Mike Wallace if drafted.
Georgia wide receiver, Stephen Hill, has been moving up draft boards because of his size and speed, 6'5" with a 4.46 40 time, and would be a nice addition to the Black and Gold offense. The problem with Hill though is that he only had one year of real production and it wasn't even in a pro style offense; how he would transition in the NFL still remains the biggest question.
Another name to keep an eye on would be Tommy Streeter of Miami. Streeter may have had only one year of production, but he posted impressive numbers during that year. He averaged 17.6 yards per catch and showed great skill with "go" routes and catching the ball in traffic; two things that Wallace does well. Streeter would need to work on his route running and definitely need to become a student of the game to make up for his lack of experience.
Pittsburgh will no doubt draft a receiver at some point, if for no other reason than depth, but don't be surprised if they draft with the idea of replacing Wallace should he leave.
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