Gauging interest in Steelers' Mike Wallace

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
2:00
PM ET

In an interesting take on the situation involving restricted free agent Mike Wallace, ESPN Insider KC Joyner gauges teams' potential interest in the Pro Bowl wide receiver using four factors: their level of need for a dominant vertical wide receiver, their salary cap situation, the level of first-round pick they would have to give up and their incentive level for making life tougher for the Steelers. As far as my take, I don't believe Wallace is leaving the Steelers.

Here are Joyner's top four possible destinations:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Joyner: The draft is deep at the wide receiver position but none of the wideout prospects who will be available at the No. 31 pick are likely to be anywhere near as good as Wallace, especially in the next few years when the Patriots have a viable Super Bowl window.

Hensley: This is the one team that should scare the Steelers the most. Patriots coach Bill Belichick thinks outside the box, so you can't rule out New England. The Patriots have the need for a deep threat and have the draft picks to spare.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Joyner: The Niners may not have quite the incentive as the AFC contenders to hinder the Steelers' chances to keep Wallace, but their low first-round draft status and healthy salary-cap standing make this acquisition more than a sensible transaction.

Hensley: Wallace would be a great compliment to the 49ers' strong running game. Teams couldn't stack the box against Frank Gore with Wallace lining up on the outside. I would rate the 49ers right behind the Patriots, too.

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Joyner: At first glance, Wallace looks like a great addition for the Ravens because of the low cost of the first-round draft pick and the chance to put one over on a hated division rival. At a closer look, however, the move isn't quite as solid as it seems to be on the initial review.

Hensley: Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome squashed this speculation at the NFL combine. Plus, I never got the feeling that the Ravens coaching staff has ever been enamored by Wallace.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Joyner: Just imagine this passing game's ceiling if (Andy) Dalton had both (A.J.) Green and Wallace at his disposal. The Bengals would have the potential to be one of the NFL's elite passing offenses.

Hensley: While others have ruled out the Bengals because Wallace wouldn't fit Jay Gruden's system, I believe you have to tailor your system around the talent of the players. I know the Bengals aren't going to go after Wallace, but the Bengals' passing attack would be scary with him and A.J. Green.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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