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Old 02-21-2012, 07:29 PM   #1
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Default Will Ravens and Bengals pursue Wallace?

Will Ravens and Bengals pursue Wallace?
By Jamison Hensley
http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/print?id=42614

The Steelers are concerned that another team will take Mike Wallace if they put a first-round tender on the restricted free agent instead of the franchise tag. The last place Pittsburgh would want to see the big-play wide receiver go is inside its own division.

The Ravens and Bengals are among a handful of teams who are considered viable candidates to go after Wallace. Both teams are looking to upgrade at wide receiver. Both have more salary-cap room than the Steelers. And both have more motivation than other teams: Acquiring Wallace not only makes them stronger at wide receiver, but it takes away a playmaker that they won't have to defend twice a season.

Wallace, a 2011 Pro Bowl performer, finished first among AFC North wide receivers with 72 catches and 1,193 yards receiving. He stretched the field with seven receptions of at least 40 yards, including touchdowns of 81 and 95 yards. He also caught one pass of 40 yards or more in six straight games this season.

It's logical that the Ravens would be interested in Wallace. Baltimore only had two wide receivers who caught more than four passes last season (Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith) and neither had more than 57 receptions. But the Ravens have never traded a draft pick higher than a second-rounder (Terrell Owens in a 2004 deal that was ultimately rescinded) and they've come across as being more impressed with Antonio Brown than Wallace.

Still, Baltimore would only have to part with the 29th overall pick, and the Ravens know no wide receiver the caliber of Wallace will drop that far. Wallace, who turns 26 before the season, is entering the prime of his career, which makes him a more attractive option than the other free agent wide receivers: Marques Colston (who will turn 29), Vincent Jackson (29) and Reggie Wayne (33).

But Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome made it sound like the team wouldn't be pursuing restricted free agents.

“There’s going to be some restricted free agents that we would like, but is it going to be worth giving up a significant amount of cash and cap and a draft pick?," Newsome said at the Ravens' season-ending press conference. "When you deal with that double-whammy, even though the rules have been relaxed, you just go, ‘Nah, no, I wouldn’t do it.’ That’s just my philosophy.”

The bigger threat inside the AFC North to pry away Wallace is the Bengals, because of their cap situation. With an estimated $60 million in cap room, the Bengals could sign Wallace to a contract that includes a $20 million roster bonus (which ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter explains in the video). The Steelers, who are around $11 million over the cap right now, would be hard-pressed to match such an offer.

Cincinnati can make this move and still draft in the first round, because it has two picks this year. The Bengals, who have the Raiders' 17th overall pick from the Carson Palmer trade, would give up the No. 21 pick for Wallace.

Wallace would significantly upgrade Cincinnati's wide receiver group. The Bengals have one of the best young wide receivers in the league in A.J. Green, but they are looking for more consistent production than what they got from Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell. Imagine what Andy Dalton could do with Wallace, Green and tight end Jermaine Gresham.

Of course, the Steelers can make themselves less vulnerable if they put the franchise tag (estimated $9.6 million) on Wallace instead of the first-round tender ($2.7 million). But it will take a massive round of cuts (wide receiver Hines Ward, guard Chris Kemoeatu, defensive end Aaron Smith, offensive tackle Jonathan Scott and inside linebackers Larry Foote and James Farrior) and restructured contracts (quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and linebacker James Harrison) to make enough cap room for the Steelers to use that tag.

The Steelers have until March 5 to decide whether they will put the tag on Wallace or risk losing him.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Will Ravens and Bengals pursue Wallace?

Gotta think they put the franchise tag on him, who else would they use it on? What team wouldn't want Wallace...I could see the Patriots, TB (have a ton of cap room) among many others who would jump at the opportunity.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Will Ravens and Bengals pursue Wallace?

The short answer is yes, if they are smart. I think all those players they mentioned could be released and resigned later if need be. Some we most likely wouldn't bother bringing back. We have a great need at O-Line, more so than WR...and even though you hate to give a guy like him away it's ultimately just one position (and one that your relatively deep at) so you gotta do whats best for the team. I'd love nothing more than keeping wallace brown and sanders for the next 5-6 years. They need to decide whether they are in the NFL for money, or for the greatness. If they stick together they could be great, if they want money, they could end up playing for some pretty shitty clubs.

Bettis was a great RB, but on any other team he might of been just another back. Because he stayed with the steelers for so long and had such a great end to his career he is making bank now continuously just because of the team he played for. These guys gotta understand if you become an all time great with this team your financially set for the rest of your life. There will always be steeler nation, and we make it worth it for a player to spend their career here.

Wallace I'm not sure really cares about all that. He's said he wants to break records, and that's not generally something you do playing for the steelers... He'll end up walkin'
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Will Ravens and Bengals pursue Wallace?

I'm not seeing it. I'm pretty sure it's New England, San Fran or Chicago, or no one at all. Once it happens, I'd love to see us trade up to about 10-12 with one of them and get DeCastro.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Will Ravens and Bengals pursue Wallace?

bengals are a bigger threat to pull it off. ravens don't have the cap room to really even outbid us, much less a team that is a lot more interested.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Will Ravens and Bengals pursue Wallace?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Arians View Post
bengals are a bigger threat to pull it off. ravens don't have the cap room to really even outbid us, much less a team that is a lot more interested.
With 60 mil under the cap room, the tiggers are the most likely threat. Although, they would pay for it down the road, it sure would make them more powerful with A J Green on the other side. I didn't know they had that much room under the cap.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: Will Ravens and Bengals pursue Wallace?

But they'd have to give up their natural pick at #21, and that seems high for a wide receiver, even a very good one, especially when they just did so well drafting one and getting record rookie production out of him. Why not just take Michael Floyd or Kendall Wright, and spend the rest of the $60M elsewhere? They could be scary next year.

Or they could just suck again.
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: Will Ravens and Bengals pursue Wallace?

Don't they have to pay Flacco and Rice this off-season? Rice said he wants an Adrian Peterson type of a deal, and Flacco's agent wants top 5 QB money for Flacco
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Will Ravens and Bengals pursue Wallace?

I am more worried about the Niners or N.E. They both have low 1st round picks and Wallace would be the deep threat both need.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Will Ravens and Bengals pursue Wallace?

I think new englad and cinnci are the most likely landing spot for him. They both have multiple 1st round picks and enough money to outbid us. Both teams would be scary with Wallace. I couldnt even imagine having to play the bengals twice a year with Wallace and AJ Green. That would be a hard team for anyone to beat
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