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mesaSteeler
02-19-2012, 06:53 AM
Creative team with WR needs could pry Wallace away from Steelers
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/17326133/creative-team-with-wr-needs-could-pry-wallace-away-from-steelers
By Pat Kirwan | NFL Insider

The NFL is on the verge of free agency and clubs are about to put franchise tags on players they most want to retain. In past years, under the old CBA, six to 10 players would receive the franchise tag. This year the tagging process runs from Feb. 20 to March 5 and I expect double the usual number of players tagged because the price of the franchise tags has gone down significantly. But while the franchise tag will keep more quality veterans with four or more years of service off the market, there might be a few opportunities in a relatively untapped pool of players.

Veterans with three years of service are classified as restricted free agents. In past years franchise tags were rarely used on such players, but things might be changing. Previously, there were provisions to tag those restricted players with a high tender, and the compensation for a team losing a restricted free agent was a first- and third-round pick. Teams simply didn't consider restricted free agents.

Those days may be gone under the new CBA, with the most compensation a team can receive a first-round pick. That compensation sounds like it is still a high price to pay and will scare off most teams studying the restricted-free-agent pool. But consider teams picking at the bottom of the first round. Instead of giving up a top-10 pick or even a mid-round pick, such teams would stand to lose a selection in the late 20s or early 30s. Is it possible a team could target a quality young player in return for their first-round pick?

I asked two former general managers about targeting restricted free agents. The first said, "Now, we would have to talk about that situation at length and it has some merit." The other offered this: "If I could weaken a division opponent and get the guy under the right deal that a team couldn't match, it is like getting a two-for-one deal. We have a player we no longer have to defend and they have to replace him."

This curiosity in the RFA class brought me quickly to Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. At 26, Wallace has tallied 171 receptions and 24 touchdowns over three seasons and was a 2011 Pro Bowl selection. He has exceptional speed to get deep and there may not be any receivers like him at the bottom of the first round. There are three teams at the bottom of the first round that would instantly be better if he were on their team. Would the Ravens (No. 29), 49ers (No. 30) or Patriots (No. 31) conclude Wallace is a better option than the fourth or fifth rookie receiver in the draft?

Most NFL analysts believe Justin Blackmon, Kendall Wright and Michael Floyd will be long gone to these teams by time the draft rolls around. Moving up in the draft to secure Blackmon is unrealistic. Moving up for one of the other two marquee receivers could cost at least a second-round pick. The argument that paying Wallace is a lot more expensive than drafting a wide receiver at the bottom of the first round is true on paper, but there's no guarantee the rookie receiver will ever be as good as Wallace is right now, and at age 26 he should be good for years to come.

One coach I spoke with said he would turn to unrestricted free agents instead of surrendering a first-round pick. But Marques Colston (at age 29), Vincent Jackson (29) and Reggie Wayne (34) may be the best wide receivers without a franchise tag, and their respective ages make each of them more of a risk than the younger Wallace. Basically he could play three or four years for a new team before even reaching the age of the veteran wide receivers in his class. Wallace could play out a six-year deal and still have time for another contract.

The trick to landing a restricted free agent is putting a contract together the player finds acceptable and the former club can't or won't match. That is where the Wallace situation becomes even more interesting. The NFL has eliminated so-called "poison pill" contracts, which I applaud. In past years teams looking to acquire someone else's player installed clauses that the other club would have no chance to match. For instance, when the Vikings went after Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson, who was on a transition tag, and simply put a clause in the contract that stated exorbitant amounts of money would be owed Hutchinson based on how many games he played in the state of Washington. The Seahawks couldn't match that deal and Hutchinson became a Viking.

Now the deals have to be legitimate, but the Steelers have some salary-cap issues that are restricting their ability to defend themselves in the world of finance. A team could frontload a contract with a big roster bonus, where the entire bonus counts under the 2012 salary cap, which would be problematic for the Steelers. As one GM said, "Salary cap space is power this time of year." The Ravens, Patriots and 49ers all have significantly more cap space than the Steelers.

In the same division, Wallace has played against the Ravens seven times, hauling in 25 receptions at 15.1 yards per catch. Going to Baltimore would definitely be a two-for-one deal. He no longer plays for the Steelers and he instantly becomes the Ravens' best receiver.

Wallace has played against the Patriots twice, catching 15 receptions -- 13 of them for first downs. The Patriots' passing game has everything but a deep threat. Again, two for one.

Wallace has played just once against the 49ers, but did snag five passes at 13.2 per catch. Line him up opposite Michael Crabtree, with Vernon Davis splitting the safeties, and the Niners are a playoff team for years.

The point is all three teams are very much aware of his skill level and would provide the "X" receiver threat they need to open up their offenses even more.

Finally, arguments can be made for or against pursuing Mike Wallace. It's worth the debate, especially if the Steelers put a restricted tender on him instead franchising him. The franchise tag for Wallace would be $9.4 million and the Steelers just might not have the cap space to protect their investment.

While odds are that he somehow remains with the Steelers, don't think for a minute some front offices aren't looking at the possibilities.

mesaSteeler
02-19-2012, 07:10 AM
Here is a question I will throw out. How many draft picks is Wallace worth? A number 1, a 1 and 2, a 2 and a 3? How many and what rounds would you let him go for?

At what price is he worth letting go given the age on our team and the poor O-line? Getting a few more draft picks might help weak areas of the team. Then again we may not have the cap space to sign many extra draft picks either so this is going to be interesting to watch. .

FrancoLambert
02-19-2012, 07:55 AM
Here is a question I will throw out. How many draft picks is Wallace worth? A number 1, a 1 and 2, a 2 and a 3? How many and what rounds would you let him go for?

At what price is he worth letting go given the age on our team and the poor O-line. Getting a few more draft picks might help weak areas of the team. Then again we may not have the cap space to sign many extra draft picks either so this is going to be interesting to watch. .

Give me a #1 and a #2 and he's gone.
A #2 and #3 is not enough..

Set-Man
02-19-2012, 09:47 AM
I would easily let him go for a #1 and #2. Think about what a few smart moves could do for the offensive and defensive lines? Wallace is very fast. We all get that. His hands are average in my opinion. He drops too many balls that he should catch. I think defensive schemes shut him down the last half of the season. But his presence opens up holes down low for Brown, Sanders, etc. This is why Brown excelled the last half of the season.

Now the main point for me is who he goes to if he leaves. If it is the Rat-Birds or Bungles then hell no! I agree that would be a double whammy!
49ers would be okay
I wish the old Raiders mgt was still around because they would have taken him for sure.

Boomer
02-19-2012, 10:01 AM
So do you think the team is exploring a trade before having to decide whether to tag him or not? A #1 and #2 would be great but I'd still hate to see him go. But a trade would ensure he goes to a team we won't face twice a year. I don't like the way he seemed to pout and give up in games last year. Maybe that was frustration in his QB being hurt and not being able to get him the ball. I'm torn on this but if he decides to leave and goes to the cheatriots or ratbirds, then I wish nothing but the worst for him in his playing career.

Black N' Yellow
02-19-2012, 10:19 AM
Couldn't the Steelers just match a front loaded offer and just restructure it to a back loaded contract if they make an arrangement with Wallace and his agent?

Fire Arians
02-19-2012, 12:54 PM
none's more creative than the genius bruce arians. wallace is going to the colts! :chuckle:

PhantomJB93
02-19-2012, 01:45 PM
none's more creative than the genius bruce arians. wallace is going to the colts! :chuckle:

Which would in turn give us the #1 overall pick :applaudit:

Bayz101
02-19-2012, 01:53 PM
Which would in turn give us the #1 overall pick :applaudit:

:applaudit:

El-Gonzo Jackson
02-19-2012, 02:16 PM
Here is a question I will throw out. How many draft picks is Wallace worth? A number 1, a 1 and 2, a 2 and a 3? How many and what rounds would you let him go for?

At what price is he worth letting go given the age on our team and the poor O-line? Getting a few more draft picks might help weak areas of the team. Then again we may not have the cap space to sign many extra draft picks either so this is going to be interesting to watch. .

I dont think that Kirwin is implying a "deal" for a trade.

If Wallace is given the RFA tender, then another team could offer him a big contract and have to give up a 1st round pick. The Steelers have the right to match that offer......but the article is saying that if somebody offers a front loaded deal, then the Steelers CANT match it because they dont have the cap space.

Its kind of creative and will likely only come into play if the other big name Unrestricted FA's are off the market. Its kind of how the Vikings outbid Seattle for Steve Hutchinson.

Wallace for a high 1st round pick is OK, but not a lower pick. I think they can tender him an offer that gives up a 1st and 3rd rounder.

fujirama24
02-19-2012, 03:35 PM
I dont think that Kirwin is implying a "deal" for a trade.

If Wallace is given the RFA tender, then another team could offer him a big contract and have to give up a 1st round pick. The Steelers have the right to match that offer......but the article is saying that if somebody offers a front loaded deal, then the Steelers CANT match it because they dont have the cap space.

Its kind of creative and will likely only come into play if the other big name Unrestricted FA's are off the market. Its kind of how the Vikings outbid Seattle for Steve Hutchinson.

Wallace for a high 1st round pick is OK, but not a lower pick. I think they can tender him an offer that gives up a 1st and 3rd rounder.

Nope just a 1st round pick. You don't get a 3rd rounder anymore. It was in the new CBA

Fire Arians
02-19-2012, 04:31 PM
Which would in turn give us the #1 overall pick :applaudit:

then we can trade down to pick #10 or something to get extra picks and land decastro at the same time.

ahh if only, lol.

Bayz101
02-19-2012, 04:52 PM
then we can trade down to pick #10 or something to get extra picks and land decastro at the same time.

ahh if only, lol.

don't talk dirty to me, lol

Boomer
02-19-2012, 07:06 PM
Lets hope that we can get something worked out to keep Mike. Surely Ben would be willing to keep Mike on his side.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSOlJCoZmTI

Ricco Suavez
02-20-2012, 01:49 PM
I for one just do not see us resigning Wallace. One we got no cap room, I know we working on it but right now our hands are tied. Second I am afraid Wallace is going to want the bank from some team and once again even if we can get the cap in check we will still be limited in what we can offer. I could see a team like the Ravens or Bengals or patriots even the 49ers give up a later round first and get what is arguably a top fifteen talent. I hate it but it is the way of the NFL now.

Atlanta Dan
02-20-2012, 06:24 PM
Peter King also picks up on the theme of another team making Wallace an offer the Steelers cannot afford to match

Six teams have more than $40 million in cap room available entering the start of the league year three weeks from now. The richest squads are:

1. Tampa Bay $67M
2. Kansas City $62M
3. Cincinnati $60M
4. Washington $49M
4. Denver $49M
6. Jacksonville $45M

What's the one position five of those teams -- all but Cincinnati -- have in common? A need at receiver (considering Dwayne Bowe, if the Chiefs lose him, will leave a hole at wideout for Kansas City). Which is good for a restricted free agent like Mike Wallace, who could get an offer the Steelers won't be able to match because of their cap problems this winter, and for unrestricted free agents like Vincent Jackson, Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and maybe an under-the-radar guy like Robert Meachem of the Saints. I don't expect Wes Welker to leave New England, but if he does, that'll add to the free-agent mayhem.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/peter_king/02/19/king.free.agents/1.html

MasterOfPuppets
02-20-2012, 06:41 PM
Peter King also picks up on the theme of another team making Wallace an offer the Steelers cannot afford to match

Six teams have more than $40 million in cap room available entering the start of the league year three weeks from now. The richest squads are:

1. Tampa Bay $67M
2. Kansas City $62M
3. Cincinnati $60M
4. Washington $49M
4. Denver $49M
6. Jacksonville $45M

What's the one position five of those teams -- all but Cincinnati -- have in common? A need at receiver (considering Dwayne Bowe, if the Chiefs lose him, will leave a hole at wideout for Kansas City). Which is good for a restricted free agent like Mike Wallace, who could get an offer the Steelers won't be able to match because of their cap problems this winter, and for unrestricted free agents like Vincent Jackson, Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and maybe an under-the-radar guy like Robert Meachem of the Saints. I don't expect Wes Welker to leave New England, but if he does, that'll add to the free-agent mayhem.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/peter_king/02/19/king.free.agents/1.html
cinncy doesn't need a receiver ? lets see..they got green , and uuuummm.... nobody. what they do have is 2, 1st round. picks and a lot of cash to spend.
i don't see anybody giving up a top 10 for wallace , but teams picking in the bottom 3rd or so like chicago, houston, SF, NE , might kick the idea around.

zcoop
02-20-2012, 06:50 PM
I for one just do not see us resigning Wallace. One we got no cap room, I know we working on it but right now our hands are tied. Second I am afraid Wallace is going to want the bank from some team and once again even if we can get the cap in check we will still be limited in what we can offer. I could see a team like the Ravens or Bengals or patriots even the 49ers give up a later round first and get what is arguably a top fifteen talent. I hate it but it is the way of the NFL now.

You're probably right, we can't afford what they may ask for. I'm sure there's a plan B contingency for this scenario. If we lose him lets hope we get an adequate replacement and try not to over extend ourselves going forward.

PhantomJB93
02-20-2012, 06:50 PM
Problem is, teams like Washington, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville are never gonna give up their firsts for Wallace. If they did I wouldn't be as opposed to losing him because that would shoe us in for at the very least DeCastro, and maybe even allow us to trade back a few spots, still land DeCastro, and gain another early pick in the process. But in reality, in the event Wallace is lost we're probably looking at one of the last 4 picks in the first round as compensation, which IMO is just not worth it.

Atlanta Dan
02-20-2012, 07:10 PM
cinncy doesn't need a receiver ? lets see..they got green , and uuuummm.... nobody. what they do have is 2, 1st round. picks and a lot of cash to spend.
i don't see anybody giving up a top 10 for wallace , but teams picking in the bottom 3rd or so like chicago, houston, SF, NE , might kick the idea around.

IMO Mike Brown cannot get his mind around investing that much in WR after he already is paying AJ Green

kan_t
02-20-2012, 07:10 PM
Problem is, teams like Washington, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville are never gonna give up their firsts for Wallace. If they did I wouldn't be as opposed to losing him because that would shoe us in for at the very least DeCastro, and maybe even allow us to trade back a few spots, still land DeCastro, and gain another early pick in the process. But in reality, in the event Wallace is lost we're probably looking at one of the last 4 picks in the first round as compensation, which IMO is just not worth it.

Agreef 100%.

jjpro11
02-20-2012, 08:20 PM
he's as good as gone unless we can magically clear enough space and extend him.. why wouldn't a team picking in the bottom 15 or so in the first round sacrifice their first rounder for a proven Pro Bowl caliber player? isn't the main goal of picking in the first round to find a Pro Bowl talent? well Wallace is a guaranteed talent, so there is no risk involved. these teams could draft a bust, and have him be out of the league in 3 years. i'll take the sure thing, thank you. unless a team is absolutely stacked at WR, doesn't have the cap room, or only wants to draft a future Hall of Famer, why would a team pass on Wallace?