The Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves in a precarious position heading into this year’s free agency period and made a move which raised some eyebrows, placing the franchise tender on WR Mike Wallace. It appears now that the move by the Steelers wasn’t as risky as first thought. With Friday the deadline for teams to sign players to sign offers sheets, Wallace seems cleared to return to the Steelers in 2012.
Mike Wallace, who has emerged as one of the best deep threats in the NFL at the receiver position could have been signed off the offer sheet this free agency period by any team needing a wide receiver. The bidding team needed to offer Wallace a contract and then the cash-strapped Steelers would have had to match the offer or lose Wallace. Pittsburgh would have received a first-round pick in return for losing Wallace.
Perhaps the largest sticking point for no team making a genuine push for Wallace is the fact that he wants to be among the highest paid wide receivers in the league. The Steelers will have his services in 2012 most likely, but he will hit the open market in 2013 and try to break the bank. Heading into 2013, Wallace will be turning 27, and likely looking at a very significant contract.
As soon as the Steelers placed the franchise tag on Wallace, the first team which many thought would be interested in Wallace were the New England Patriots. The Patriots, with two first-round picks, addressed their receiving needs through free agency.
Even though the Steelers placed the franchise tag on Wallace and he has generated no interest from other teams, he still must sign his tender offer. The speedy wide receiver is slated to earn $2.4 million next season with the Steelers.