|Moving on to Chicago? New England? Cincinnati? Baltimore? San Francisco? Washington?|
Wallace, who is "Fast Money" in the Steelers' Young Money trio of receivers -- will be getting Big Money.
Rather than bidding against themselves and setting the market for Wallace, the Steelers are going to let other teams bid against each other and set a price that the Steelers will have the opportunity to match.
Dicey, and a calculated risk. The odds are fairly good that another team will make Fast Money a BIG MONEY offer that the Steelers will decide they just cannot match.
Beginning next Tuesday, March 13, offers to Wallace will start to come in from other teams. If the Steelers choose not to match, they will lose Wallace and receive, in turn, the signing team's first-round draft choice.
One team in the running for Wallace could well be, gack!, New England, which owns two first-round draft picks and six picks in the first three rounds. The Patriots need a deep threat. They just applied the franchise tag to Wes Welker, however, so they now have a lot of cap space tied up at the receiver position already. Another option for the Patriots is free agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, who has already expressed an interest in playing for New England and reuniting with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was head coach in Denver while Lloyd was with the Broncos. Llloyd, however, is not nearly the deep threat Wallace is.
Wallace going to New England would be a worst-case scenario, matched only by the possibility of Wallace going to Baltimore. The Ravens last week signed running back Ray Rice to a big-money contract, however, and are working on a new deal for quarterback Joe Flacco, so they may not be able to afford Wallace. Or they might go after him just to jerk the Steelers around.
Another AFC North Division rival, Cincinnati, presumably could afford Wallace. The Bengals are $60 million under the cap and already have one of the best young receivers in the game, A.J. Green. Bengals fans must be drooling at the possibility of seeing Green paired with Wallace. It could happen. Like the Patriots, the Bengals have two first-round draft choices. There's almost no reason for the Bengals not to make an offer to Wallace, except ... they're the Bengals.
San Francisco would be a great match for Wallace, too, and the 49ers also have a glaring need at receiver, as do the Washington Redskins.
New Orleans is a dark-horse candidate to sign Wallace, who is a native of the Big Easy. The Saints have other big problems just now, however, including the task of signing franchise quarterback Drew Brees and All-Pro guard Carl Nicks. Having let receivers Marques Colston and Robert Meachem hit free agency, the Saints have a need at wide receiver. If they cannot sign Brees, which seems unthinkable, they will have money to spend. And it is Wallace's hometown.
|It's going to take Big Money to sign Fast Money.|
Wallace is the best of the bunch, however, and more than one team will bid for his services and drive up his price. Complicating the situation for the Steelers is the pending contract situation, next off-season, for fellow receivers Antonio Brown ("Fast Money") and Emanuel Sanders ("Easy Money").
|So much for sentiment.|
It's going to be tough not having those guys around anymore.
Let's just hope Mike Wallace doesn't join the group of departures.