It is the time of the year when we blogger types are struggling for things to write about and if you don’t believe me check out the NFL website. Wow, are those folks struggling to find a story with any traction. They invested a good portion of last week’s bandwidth to the Randy Moss comeback attempt. While it’s true that getting information out of our beloved Steelers can be difficult; and by difficult think Cold War era Soviet Union information difficult, Comrade, there is a real piece of red meat to nosh on. It is the Mike Wallace restricted free agent situation (not related in any way to last week’s Bonnie Situation). We know the following to be factual: 1) Wallace is very fast man. 2) Wallace is at the end of his rookie contract that paid him a whopping $400,000.00 last season. 3) Players get paid. 4) Other NFL teams (or, hell, CFL teams) can offer Mike Wallace a big ‘ol box of cash to play for them and the Steelers can either match that team’s offer or get said team’s first round draft pick. 5) Steelers are in a bit of a pinch as far as the salary cap goes (and by ‘a bit of a pinch’ I mean Holy Shit, Omar, did you forget there was a decimal point there, bit of a pinch). 6) Some team is going to offer Mike Wallace a king’s ransom to come and play for them. 7) Wallace is a former Steeler pretty much as soon as free agency hits.
Ok. I know not all of those things are concrete facts. I will leave that up to serious journalists like Jason LaCanfora (snort, snort, choke, puke. Seriously, that dude is wrong more often than a weather man). If the Steelers did decide to match another team’s, the 49ers, Patriots, Bengals, Ravens (TCSFB), offer that would only make Pittsburgh’s already bleak salary cap situation bleaker. The Steelers have made a couple of cuts already, including part time starter McFadden, and restructured some contracts; Colon and Woodley to name two but it’s been reported that they are still in the neighborhood of 12 million over the cap right now. What a neighborhood! It will cost the Steelers about 4 million to sign their draft picks. That is more debt, not less (I’m no Omar Kahn but I think that’s what they’re trying to avoid).
The Steelers will no doubt have to shed some well known players and the hefty contracts that go with them. The list of the potentially gone could read like yesterday’s starting lineup: Starks, Foote (not Larry!!), Farrior (OUCH!), Ward (C’mon Man), Hampton (Big Snaaaack!!!)…. I can’t go on.
There have been several idiots on the radio demanding that the Steelers do anything and everything to sign the winged footed Wallace to a long term deal. Those knuckleheads want the home team to match any offer so that Ben has a target to throw to. IF the Steelers did that, or even worse put the franchise tag on Wallace, they would be tripling their salary cap constipation next year when Brown, Sanders, AND Wallace would ALL be free agents. Not to mention the money the Steelers would sink into Wallace would prohibit the signing of other players to put on the field for all of that blocking, tackling, and running of the ball.
Is there a bright side? Sure. Kevin Colbert is a master drafter. Mike Wallace was a third round pick. The Steelers will get a first round pick for Wallace when he leaves (spoiler alert: He’s leaving). That is two picks in the first round for Colbert, Tomlin, and Rooney to fetch. I think Pittsburgh’s front office is actively chumming the waters right now to get Wallace’s suitors in a frenzy. Hopefully a team with a higher draft pick than the above mentioned will get in on the bidding and give Pittsburgh an even better deal for Wallace.
Hunker down and grab the remote. Rich Eisen is getting ready to run the 40 at the combine.