The Pittsburgh Steelers have a potentially great group of receivers in Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery.
The only problem with that is the fact that Mike Wallace has not signed his tender yet, although he is expected to report before the start of the season, according to Adam Schefter in this ESPN.com article by Jamison Hensley.
No matter what is being reported right now, I’m sure the Steelers are prepared for the worst, and here are 10 options they could go for if Mike Wallace decides to take his holdout into the season.
Most Recent Stats (2011 with New England Patriots)
15 Receptions, 276 yards, 1 touchdown
Although Johnson is coming off of his worst season as a pro with the Patriots and his short stint as a Dolphin, as long as he is not suspended or imprisoned due to the incident, someone is still going to give him a chance this year.
It may be a long shot that the Steelers sign Johnson. However, he is a veteran option out there, and he can still stretch the field.
Most Recent Stats (2011 with New York Jets)
45 receptions, 612 yards, 8 touchdowns
Plaxico Burress has an advantage over almost every cornerback in the league with his size in the red zone.
The Steelers have a lot of speed at the receiver position; however, they lack the type of size that Burress brings to the field.
Most Recent Stats (2011 with Chicago Bears)
37 receptions, 507 yards, 2 touchdowns
After having a pretty decent start to his career with the Detroit Lions, Roy Williams has really fallen off in terms of consistency in his play.
He has the talent and size, you would think, to get open and be a great red-zone target. However, the most touchdowns he has had in a season is eight, and that was in each of his first two years in the NFL.
Williams has really been plagued by drops since he left Detroit, and at this point I would see the Steelers signing him only for his size.
Most Recent Stats (2011 with San Diego Chargers)
23 receptions, 248 yards, 1 touchdown
The Steelers are not really looking for someone to come in and start, and Crayton was a pretty good backup receiver with the Dallas Cowboys.
Additionally, unlike the previous receivers I have mentioned, Crayton brings the ability to play on special teams.
12 receptions, 150 yards, 0 touchdowns
Mike Sims-Walker looked to have a good career ahead of him after joining the Rams to be their starting receiver in 2011.
After he showed an inability to catch the ball, however, the Rams cut him loose, after only four games, and Sims-Walker went back to the team that originally drafted him.
Sims-Walker would bring decent size to the Steelers, and he would be a nice backup plan in case any of the top three receivers were to get injured.
Most Recent Stats (2011 with Seattle Seahawks)
18 receptions, 236 yards, 1 touchdown
Mike Williams has been a complete bust ever since being drafted by the Detroit Lions 10th overall in the 2005 NFL draft.
He has had only one decent season in his career, and that was in with the Seahawks in 2010, when he accumulated 65 receptions, 751 yards and two touchdowns.
Without that 2010 season, Williams’ career stats are pathetic, and this would be a signing like others on this list purely for the sake of size.
Before the 2012 NFL draft, there was a ton of talk surrounding whether or not the Steelers would actually trade Mike Wallace for some picks.
Personally, I would not trade Mike Wallace unless a team came to the Steelers with a ridiculous offer, and the team has already come out and said that he is not going to be traded.
Although it looks as though the Steelers will not trade Mike Wallace this season, they could still franchise him next year and get at least one or two first-round picks from someone.
Jeff Demps bypassed the NFL for the 2012 London Olympics, and after receiving a silver medal in the men’s 4x100-meter relay, he is going to try to play football again.
Demps was a dual-threat player at the University of Florida, with 991 all-purpose yards, rushing, receiving and kick-returning, in 2011.
If the Steelers really have to be without Wallace for a portion of the season, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to replace his great speed with a guy with world-class speed.
The Steelers have not picked in the top 10 in the draft since 2000, and their highest pick since was 11th in 2004, when they selected Ben Roethlisberger.
I mention that only because by "draft high" I mean a first- or second-round pick, although the team is going to be picking late in each round, so it’s not really a high pick.
Unless a guy like Robert Woods from USC just falls to the Steelers somehow, I do not really see them taking a receiver until at least the third or fourth round in next year’s draft.
At this point I have full confidence that the Steelers will get a deal done with Mike Wallace. However, if not, I think there is a possibility they just let him walk after this season.
Without Wallace the Steelers still have two good young receivers in Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders and a veteran in Jerricho Cotchery who is signed for the next two years.
Wallace himself was drafted in the third round, and if the Steelers lose him, they will most likely try to replicate the success they’ve had selecting receivers in the mid-to-late rounds.