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Steelers Free Agency 2012: Mike Wallace Could Stay In 2012, But Leave After That

With the first day of NFL free agency in the books, Mark Kaboly outlines Mike Wallace's ever-evolving situation. Essentially, the situation is that several free-agent wideouts signed, but Wallace wasn't one of them, and it looks like the price of a first-round draft pick plus a serious contract offer for Wallace is going to turn out to be too high for other teams to pay. That means Wallace ought to wind up back with the Steelers this season, and for the bargain price of $2.742 million.

The problem is how the Steelers will end up keeping him after 2012. With a number of receivers signing expensive deals this offseason, Wallace's price as an unrestricted free agent could get out of control, and the Steelers don't have the flexibility to pay him. Or, perhaps, the desire.

The Steelers just don’t place high values on their receivers. They never have.

Just over the past few years alone, they let No. 1 picks Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes leave.

They feel they can get top-notch receivers anywhere from the draft to off the street.

Look at the receivers who got big deals already this year – Colston (7th rounder), Johnson (7th rounder), Garcon (6th rounder). Wallace was a 3rd-rounder as well as Emmauel Sanders and Hines Ward. Antonio Brown was a 6th rounder.

That makes a lot of sense. It looks like the likely result, then, is that Wallace will stay with the Steelers for one more year, and then leave. The Steelers will think they can get better value elsewhere.

For more on Mike Wallace and the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.