The Pittsburgh Steelers offered a first-round tender to restricted free agent Mike Wallace and some were thinking he could see some interest from other teams. A team would have to offer him a contract that the Steelers wouldn't match, and then give up a first-round pick, in order to acquire him. Considering Wallace is a rising star in the NFL, a first-round pick is enticing.
The San Francisco 49ers and other teams have called about Wallace, according to the Sacramento Bee, but there hasn't been any activity outside of that. Apparently, Wallace is looking for a lot of money -- like Larry Fitzgerald money.
A league source said that Wallace, 25, wants a contract that surpasses the eight-year, $120 million deal that Larry Fitzgerald signed last year with the Cardinals. Combine that with the first-round pick any team that signs Wallace to an offer sheet would lose if the Steelers didn't match the offer, and you start to understand why we've heard so little about Wallace in the last week and a half.
I'd be curious who the source is on this. If it's someone connected to the Steelers, then you have to wonder if this is Pittsburgh's way of scaring off other teams so they won't make a run at Wallace.
Or maybe the Steelers receiver really does want to be paid that well. Fitzgerald received his big pay day after he'd been in the league for seven seasons and clearly demonstrated he was one of the top two receivers in the NFL. Wallace, meanwhile, has only been in the league for three seasons. He has a lot of potential but he's less of a sure thing than Fitzgerald was last year when he signed his massive contract extension.
Wallace should be paid well because he's young and you pay for future performance, not past performance. But Fitzgerald money should be reserved for the truly elite receivers, like Calvin Johnson. I don't see Wallace fitting into that category, yet.