Not buying Mike Wallace trade rumors

April, 13, 2012
4/13/12
9:34
AM ET
A handful of teams are interested in trading for Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace, a league source told Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

There's one snag to this happening -- the Steelers shouldn't be interested in trading Wallace. There's no logical reason for the Steelers to do this. Wallace isn't happy that he is playing under his restricted free-agent tender, and the Steelers won't be happy if Wallace decides to skip offseason workouts because of that. But all signs point to Wallace catching long passes from Ben Roethlisberger this season.

[+] EnlargeMike Wallace
Charles LeClaire/US PresswireIf Mike Wallace leaves as a free agent after the 2012 season, the Steelers could expect to get a third-round compensatory pick.
First of all, the Steelers can't expect to get a first-round pick for Wallace on draft day because that's the price to acquire him right now as a restricted free agent. If any team is willing to part with a first-rounder, it will sign Wallace to an offer sheet before the April 20 deadline.

Another nugget of information to remember when trying to validate this trade rumor: The Steelers know they will get a compensatory third-round pick for Wallace if he leaves as a free agent after this season. While no one really knows the league formula for handing out compensatory picks, the Cincinnati Bengals received a third-round compensatory pick for wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh in 2009. Enough said.

The only remaining scenario is a team offering a second-round pick (and perhaps a package that includes a second-rounder and multiple later-round picks) for Wallace. But this deal shouldn't interest the Steelers either. Why get only a second-round pick for a No. 1 wide receiver? He's an integral part of the Steelers making another Super Bowl run this year, and Pittsburgh still has 10 months to get Wallace signed to a long-term deal. And, if the Steelers fail to sign Wallace, they still get a third-rounder for him.

Trading their top wide receiver wouldn't be unprecedented for the Steelers. Pittsburgh traded Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a fifth-round pick 10 days before the 2010 draft. But Holmes and Wallace are two receivers who represent two different issues. Holmes was facing a four-game suspension at the time after a series of off-the-field incidents. Wallace is coming off a Pro Bowl season and has produced the second-most receiving yards ever (3,206) in a player's first three seasons in the NFL.

So, there's no surprise that there's a handful of teams interested in trading for Wallace. It would just be shocking to see the Steelers actually trading him.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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