Wallace is a restricted free agent. Can the Steelers lock him in or will he slip through their fingers?

Mike Wallace A Priority For Steelers. Or Is He?

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The Steelers are never ones to negotiate contracts during the season, which is why there’s quite a laundry list of players waiting to be signed as either free agents or restricted free agents.  Of all the Steelers’ free agents in the 2012/13 offseason, Mike Wallace is hands down the biggest of them all.  I know it, you know it, the Steelers know it – you gotta get this guy signed.  So why did Kevin Colbert just tell the public today that they aren’t signing anyone before signing deadline hits free agency officially starts on March 13th?

Kevin Colbert and Omar Khan are a dynamic duo that any team would love to have in their front office.  They are magicians when it comes to acquiring, hiring and signing players and personel.  They also know when to say when.  But there’s a bit of conflict in their execution of priorities when it comes to Mike Wallace.

Colbert has said, according to PPG’s Ed B. and Trib’s Scotty Brown, that the Steelers will not be signing anyone before the March 12th deadline.  All of their free agent players – restricted and unrestricted – will officially be on the market.  If Mike Wallace is such a priority, why would you let that happen?  Granted, Mike Wallace is a restricted free agent – meaning that the Steelers have first right of refusal of an offer from another team by given time to either match the offer or by getting draft picks from the team making the offer.  There’s got to be a few teams out there that have the capital to out bid the Steelers – especially with them working as hard as they are in getting under the cap.

Speaking of the cap, it appears that is the #1 priority right now.  Not Wallace.  The team is dumping dead weight out of their ship before the 12th.  Their MO this year around is to get rid of all the overages first, then see where they stand on making offers to FA’s. Not a bad system because you are then comfortable to work within your means.  But can they afford this move with someone like Wallace.

Ahh I am forgetting something – the franchise tag.  The Steelers don’t like using it, but they could slap that tag onto Wallace should they be desperate.  Now I’m confused about this because isn’t the franchise tag usually reserved for unrestricted FA’s?  But Scott Brown of the Trib says they can.  If he is indeed correct, then that’s about a $9 million pay day for one year with Wallace.  Sweet for him.  Bad for the Steelers in that they are delaying locking this guy in long term for 4-5 years.

I’m treading thin ice hear by criticizing the Steelers’ FO and how they do business.  They’ve shown time and time again that they absolutely know what the hell they are doing and are geniuses at getting who they want when they want.  I don’t agree with the way they are handling Wallace right now, but you gotta trust these guys.

Follow me on Twitter @NicePickCowherC

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