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Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Schefter on the Steelers' offseason issues

By Jamison Hensley


ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter addressed the two most talked about issues of the Steelers' offseason so far: the future of wide receiver Mike Wallace and the relationship between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

In his mailbag, Schefter writes that the Steelers are vulnerable to losing Wallace and it's not by choice. Pittsburgh might be forced to put the first-round tender on Wallace instead of the franchise tag because it's $11 million over the salary cap. He named the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers as teams who might sign Wallace to an offer sheet.

"That team can load up that contract with a big roster bonus that would count against the Steelers' salary cap this season," Schefter writes. "If Wallace signs an offer sheet that contains a $20 million roster bonus, the Steelers are left with two choices: they can match the offer sheet, keep Wallace and then have to cut $20 million worth of players; or they can decline to match, lose Wallace and get that cap space along with a first-round pick."

In terms of the AFC North, I see Cincinnati as being a more likely destination than Baltimore. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome made it sound like the team wouldn't be pursuing restricted free agents.

“There’s going to be some restricted free agents that we would like, but is it going to be worth giving up a significant amount of cash and cap and a draft pick?," Newsome said at the Ravens' season-ending news conference. "When you deal with that double-whammy, even though the rules have been relaxed, you just go, ‘Nah, no, I wouldn’t do it.’ That’s just my philosophy.”

Schefter also made an interesting point on the report that says Roethlisberger and Haley have finally met. In the video, Schefter says no one should put all the blame on Haley for not calling Roethlisberger. "There have been plenty of players over time who have called coaches to welcome them," Schefter says.

Schefter added, "But this is a relationship that would be surprising if it didn't work out."