Wallace is on a slippery slope right now. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Likelihood of Trading #17 and Possible Training Camp Pickups for Steelers

If Mark Kaboly’s report is indeed accurate, count me in as one of the many which are absolutely disgusted by the greed and selfishness displayed by a certain Steelers pass-catcher.  Apparently, a 5-year deal around $50 million dollars was not good enough for #17, and the rumors that he wanted “Larry Fitzgerald” money this past offseason might have been more accurate than we think.

At this point, it appears like the Front Office and #17 will not budge on coming together for a new contract, and #17’s best and most logical card to play might be to sit and wait to sign his RFA tender until Week 11.  Because of #17’s recent actions, and the Front Office’s staunch stance on the situation, many have clamored for the trade of #17 and/or the pickup of another Wide Receiver as insurance if he decides to make the couch his home until November.  With these things in mind, I felt that I would address the aforementioned topics this evening and give my own thoughts, comments, and concerns on the matters at hand.


Trading #17: Does it Make Sense?  Will it Happen?

For everybody on the “Trade #17 Bandwagon,” let me state that I am with you, have been with you since April, and it would be awesome to send #17 to “N.F.L. purgatory” like Jacksonville, Miami, Cleveland, etc..  An experience like that would not only show #17 that the “grass is not always greener,” but that sometimes the grass has been “burned, earth has been salted, and guys like Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Tannehill, etc. are allowed to start under center, become skittish when pressured, and throw inaccurate passes.”

As nice of a scene and as totally helpful to the organization (salary cap wise, and rebuilding wise) that a move like trading #17 would be, it is almost impossible at this point.  And as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.com recently reiterated, the points which I have made for months will probably render the attempts to move #17 and get something of equal value in return fruitless:

One of the biggest reasons why trading #17 will probably not happen has to do with Pittsburgh’s asking price.  Pittsburgh would likely be looking to receive at least a 1st Round pick (what they would have received if his tender was signed by another this past offseason), or two 2nd Round selections, or possibly a 2nd and a 3rd plus another contributing player for #17’s services.

Colbert and Co., because they understand what a return on an investment is, will likely not move #17 for anything below the bench-mark I discussed above.  Especially since they will receive a 3rd Round compensatory pick in the 2014 Draft if/when he leaves via Free Agency.  Plus, teams already passed on #17 a few months back when they could have acquired him for only a 1st Round pick, so it is highly questionable that they would take run at him now for an exorbitant amount.  Granted, the Steelers might decide to take far below the market value just to move their disgruntled Wide Receiver (a la Sansmokio Holmes for a 5th Rounder in 2010), but because #17 has not had disciplinary issues and does not face a suspension, Pittsburgh’s Front Office will probably not pull the trigger if a team offers a 5th Rounder, or even a 4th and 5th Round selections.

High asking price also ties into the other factor which might cause teams to shy away from #17: signability long-term.  If another organization truly wants to give up those amounts of draft picks on a Wide Receiver, they have to understand that he will only be signed through the 2012 season.  With that in mind, the ability to lock-up #17 long-term will be of the utmost importance because of what it will take to acquire him, and #17 might have already tipped his hand as to what he wants long-term (>$50 million).  If the price-tag is too high, and will be for quite a few teams, #17 might have priced himself out of the market.

Thus, any intelligent organization would see that it would be better to wait for #17 to hold out for most of the 2012 season, possibly drive his price tag down, not give up any important draft selections, and go after him as a UFA early in 2013.  But hey, we have seen some teams make ridiculous moves before, so it will be interesting to see what the market for #17 will end up being during Training Camp and the Preseason.


Possible Free Agent Options

If the #17 continues his “defiant” sit-down, and Pittsburgh cannot move him for the right price, Colbert and Co. should consider signing a cheap option pass-catching for one year with whatever cap money they can scrape together.  One player which might be able to help in the pass-catching department is Mike Williams, a guy Craig discussed a few weeks back.

After Williams resurrected his career in 2010 and racked up 65 Catches, 751 Yards and 2 TD’s, his production dropped off last year and was deemed expendable by the rebuilding Seahawks.  At this point, the 28 year old Williams could at worst be a nice stop-gap player (if he can be had cheaply) until Pittsburgh can develop Toney Clemons or they draft a tall field-stretching WR early next season.  Williams most importantly possesses great size (6’5” 225 lbs.), can help take some pressure off of the inside receivers, and I am sure he likely jump at the chance to play for a contending team if he does not receive any lucrative offers elsewhere.

If #17 sits, Plaxico might be a viable option for the Black & Gold to turn to this season. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE

The other player which could be a wild-card of an intriguing option would be none other than everybody’s favorite gun-safety spokesman and the first ever draft pick made under the Colbert regime: “Plaxico Burress.”

When one considers the fact that Burress put up an 45 Catch, 612 Yards, and 8 TD’s season with noodle-arm Sanchez throwing him the ball, and missed the previous two years because he was living “The Longest Yard” for real, it is conceivable that Plaxico has a year or two of productive football left in the tank.  Also helping the situation is that Burress expressed a desire to suit up for the Steelers again last season, and might be willing to meet Pittsburgh’s asking price to play with Big Ben again.  While the veteran’s age (35) might be a bit of an issue, his size (6’5” 225 lbs.) is something which this Receiving Corps desperately needs.  And while Plax might not be able to stretch the field with his speed like #17, he could be a solid option in the Red Zone and take at least a bit of heat off of the inside pass-catchers with his presence.


Final Thoughts 

It is truly a shame if this is indeed how #17’s career ends with the Black & Gold, but he should have done his homework on the situation first, and realized that confronting the Rooney’s and the Front Office is like “bringing a knife to a gun fight.”

This whole situation will depend on #17’s attitude over the coming weeks and it will be interesting to see how everything transpires.  If the Front Office gets the impression that he will not accept what they offer him, does not want to sign his RFA tender until November, and will thus be leaving via Free Agency if he is not Franchise Tagged for a large amount next season, then they will explore any and all options to either replace him in the short-term with a veteran or do what is best for the club by getting something in return to build with down the road.

I am sure it will be an “As the World Turns” type of atmosphere surrounding #17 and the Steelers this season, so we had better ready ourselves for the soap-operaness of it all.



Now its time to share your thoughts readers:  Is #17 worth over $50 million?  Should the Steelers go after a veteran?  Or are you comfortable with the players they have on the roster?  Without #17, will this Offense go completely to pieces?  Or will they respond to replace him somewhat in the statistical/matchup aggregate?






Stats Courtesy of: Pro Football Reference.com

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Tags: 2012 Season Antonio Brown Mike Wallace Mike Williams Pittsburgh Steelers Plaxico Burress

  • Guest

    I’ve said this long before [and lately Steeler pundits have said the same]; Wallace’s attitude flew south halfway thru the 2011 season along with his performance (some might call it ’cause and effect’). Watch replays of him pouting on the bench after A Brown (or others) made big receptions or scored. In particular, check out his sulks after Ben misfired when passing to him. Wallace is about Wallace, nothing else. Fifty million $ for five years of playing a game & it’s not good enough for a one trick pony? I sincerely hope he takes his game somewhere else.

  • RunTheDamnBallStillers…

    As a fan base we tend to move very quickly into a “circle the wagons” mentality when confronted with a player holding out for a better deal like #17 is right now. Steeler fans are a prideful bunch, and for good reason (one of, if not THE best run organizations in all of pro sports), but let’s not forget this is a business and Wallace isn’t giving us the collective finger by wanting the maximum $ he can get for his services. If the offense moves toward a more run first look like we all want to see anyway (fullback? Hell yes!) the need for grease lighting outside the hash marks may not be as important as it was under Arians. That being said, if he’s got to go, it’s critical he doesn’t end up running routes for Mr. Bundchen up there in Foxboro. Send his ass to Dallas. That’s punishment enough.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tim.hiligh Tim Romel Hiligh

      As the first poster said, Mike Wallace attitude started getting crappy in the second half of last year along with his performance. Obviously, he let his frustrations get the best of him and looking at the situation from the outside, it appeared as if he was turning into a prima donna WR. Mike appeared to be a very humble guy when he first came into the league, but fame and success has changed many men. It appears the more success he obtained, the more his hip hop young money attitude grew. When its time to do business he need to check his ego at the door, but that can be difficult for young men especially when everyone in his ear is probably telling him he’s the sh&t and how much better he is than this guy and that guy. There is nothing wrong with trying to get the best deal possible. However, each situation is different and as a business man you have to know your client/customer/business partner and how to conduct business with them especially when they have the leverage. If he did his homework, he would have known how the Steelers conduct business. Holding out will not produce the results he’s looking for with this business partner. How will holding out benefit him? It certainly will not allow him to work out a long term deal with the Steelers because they don’t negotiate contracts once the season starts. And, holding out until the 10th game will really hurt him because It kills his ability to build on his resume. Mike is just not thinking clearly right now.

  • SteelCity

    I’m like a lot of Steeler fans. I’m done with #17 and his wish for LF money! You mention trading him and several replacements, what about a trade with KC for another RFA WR holding out?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.hiligh Tim Romel Hiligh

    I like the idea of bringing in Plaxico Burress if he has his head on straight. He’s a big redzone threat and would compliment the other WRs very well. The Steelers should also try to move Wallace if they can, but as it was mentioned in the article this is very unlikely. So, the way things are looking, Wallace will more than likely sign his tender (at a reduce price) and report in November and become an UFA in 2013. The Steelers will get a 3rd rounp pick as compensation for losing Mike in FA. Wallace will NOT get the money he’s seaking in 2013 because of a few reasons. 1. In 2011 he couldn’t beat double teams as consistently as a top tier WR should, and this caused him to have a bad slump in the second half of the season, 2. His resume will be hurt due to his holdout. There is no way he’ll be able to miss the first 10 games and then come in and learn the new offense and be productive…he wouldn’t even start. Mike has really lost his mind.

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    #17 is greedy & self absorbed. I had a heated debate with a NFL blogger on Twitter,he claims #17 is the Steelers future at receiver.. I say extending Antonio Brown was a great move! He’s the type of ball player we need. I say trade his ass to Seattle or St.Louis to let him know how good he has it in Pitt. Bus Cook is doing this Guy no good if he is advisied him not to take that deal or not sign his tender! Steelers don’t deal with terrorist. #BringBackPlexico