Would Patriots pursue Mike Wallace?

February, 20, 2012
2/20/12
4:00
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The New England Patriots are looking for a deep threat at receiver to go with receiver Wes Welker and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

Could Pittsburgh Steelers’ speedster Mike Wallace be the answer?

Hypothetically, Wallace would be a tremendous addition to Tom Brady's arsenal in New England. Wallace has the ability to stretch the field and take pressure and attention away from Welker and the two tight ends underneath.

However, Wallace is in his prime and has become a franchise building block in Pittsburgh. It’s hard to see the Steelers letting the Pro Bowl receiver go this offseason. But AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley made an intriguing case by outlining Pittsburgh's issues with a tight salary cap.

Giving Wallace the money he deserves will be tough for Pittsburgh this offseason, and putting a first-round tender on Wallace might not be enough. Somebody will gladly give up a first-round pick for Wallace, especially teams later in the first round. The Steelers could also use the franchise tag for additional protection.

The Patriots have two draft picks in the first round -- No. 27 and No. 31 overall -- and tons of cap space. They can afford to give up one of their high draft picks and offer Wallace a big contract.

But for now, New England has receiver issues of its own. The Patriots have to re-sign or put the franchise tag on Welker before they can even think about Wallace. But if Pittsburgh slips up over the next few weeks and allows Wallace to become available, New England would be wise to at least check into this situation.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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