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Steelers Free Agency 2012: Mike Wallace Likely To Remain With Pittsburgh As Other Possibilities Disappear

Ed Bouchette suggests that, as expected, the number of suitors for star wide receiver Mike Wallace has been reduced to ... well, the Pittsburgh Steelers. And that's it. The Patriots have Brandon Lloyd, the 49ers have Mario Manningham, and the Ravens and Bengals are probably out as well. Because of the high price of acquiring Wallace (a first-round pick plus the price of signing Wallace to a contract that the Steelers would be unwilling to match), the number of potential fits was limited to begin with.

Now the most likely course of action is that Wallace will get a single year and $2.742 million. He and the Steelers could try to work out a long-term deal, but given that the Steelers have the chance to use the franchise tag on him next year, it seems more likely that they will just revisit this again after the season, giving themselves maximum flexibility. That seems like the prudent course, given the mediocre second half Wallace had in 2011.

Wallace must prove that what happened to him in the second half of the 2011 season was not a fluke, that the change in his attitude was temporary and out of frustration and that he will remain the big star of this receiving corps and not Antonio Brown.

Bouchette points out that the Steelers, who have shown an ability to get good receivers in the late rounds of the draft, are unlikely to give out big-money contracts to both Wallace and Brown.

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

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