Wide receiver was one of the more populated and productive units for the Steelers last year, but thanks to some expiring contracts and positional crowding, it could lead to some turnover this offseason. Mike Wallace is the most productive of the bunch, and the Steelers are going to do everything in their power to bring him back into the fold. According to Scott Brown, that could mean using the franchise tag on him.
Steelers could use franchise tag on WR Mike Wallace. Colbert, like Art Rooney II, said signing him to a long-term deal is a priority.— Scott Brown (@ScottBrown_Trib) February 13, 2012
Brown followed up with an interview with GM Kevin Colbert at the Trib and Colbert explained their stance on Wallace a little bit further.
Any of our young players that have opportunities of getting contracts elsewhere, especially when they’re young, ascending players, sure we want to keep them and they all become priorities. Certainly Mike has done a lot to establish himself as a Pro Bowl receiver and we want to try to keep Mike here for the long run.
A franchise tag would pay Wallace a little bit less than $10 million and give the Steelers exclusive negotiating rights to try and iron out a long-term deal. They can also extend a first-round tender worth less than $3 million, but that would enable Wallace to negotiate with other teams and could force the Steelers to match a contract they don't want to pay or risk losing him to another club.