Originally posted on Bleed Black & Gold  |  Last updated 2/14/12

The Steelers are thinking about potentially putting the Franchise Tag on Mike Wallace   according to Kevin Colbert, even though he is not an unrestricted free agent.  Wallace is still a restricted free agent for the Steelers and will be given the highest tender if the Steelers feel they can go that route.  The fear is that the team thinks that a first round tender is not enough to keep someone away from Mike Wallace.  He is such a hot commodity that that may not be a steep enough price. 

I wandered about this earlier in the offseason.  My biggest fear was the Cincinatti Bengals who have more cap space then they know what to do with and have two first round picks.  Now that teams have to spend most of their cap space to stay compliant with CBA rules teams will be spending money.  The Bengals could price the Steelers out of the market without even a blink of the eye.  Another team that I did not place much emphasis on but could really make a push are the 49ers.  They are one playmaker on offense away from making a real run at the Super Bowl.  It is a fear that is real and the Steelers see it to.

If the Steelers were to put the Franchise Tag on Mike Wallac they will have to two options.  They could put the exclusive tag on and no one would be able to negotiate with Wallace or they could put the non exclusive tag on and if someone signs Wallace the Steelers would get 2 first round picks as compensation.  Which ever way they choose it will still cost the team $9.4 million in cap space. 

That is up front money meaning it is guaranteed and the Steelers can only lower it by signing Wallace to a long term deal.  That means the Steelers who right now are just over $3 million over the cap if you include Hines Ward will jump back up to almost $13 million over the cap.

The Steelers will have to release and/or restructure more guys before March 13th to be compliant with the league rules.  This puts quite a few more guys on the chopping block because Wallace could have signed his restricted free agent tender during the summer and the Steelers would have had more time to work the cap down.  This cuts their time to just under a month if this happens to drop that much money.

Still I believe this is a good idea.  I feel that Wallace would be gone and we would not be able to afford to bring him back if he only has one first round pick attached to him.  Keeping him here is a priority to this offense.  If the Franchise Tag keeps him here then that is the best choice if the team has not reached a long term deal with Wallace.  Keep him in the Black and Gold.

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