The Pittsburgh Steelers have a number of free agents heading into the 2012 NFL offseason but none are more important than wide receiver Mike Wallace. With just three years of service in the league, Wallace is a restricted free agent, which means the Steelers have some control of his rights.
They could place the franchise tag on him, which would guarantee he stays off the market. But Pittsburgh has serious salary cap concerns and it's unclear if they could afford to tag him.
If they can't franchise tag him then they would likely place a first round tender on him as a restricted free agent. And NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reported that there is concern within the organization that they could lose him if that's what it comes down to.
A first round tender would mean that another team could give up a first round pick in order to pry Wallace away from Pittsburgh. The Steelers would have a chance to match a contract offer from another team but with their salary cap situation they could be limited.
Thus, the Steelers very well could be in danger of losing Wallace, which is why the Steelers are concerned. It'll be interesting to see if Wallace draws any interest on the restricted free agent market. You wonder if a team like the Bengals, who have two first round picks, would consider Wallace. Or even the Patriots, who need a deep threat. I can see why Pittsburgh would be concerned.
For more on the Steelers offseason, be sure to check out Behind the Steel Curtain.