Steelers are right in not trading Wallace

July, 29, 2012
7/29/12
8:00
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Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace isn't going anywhere this year. That's the word out of Steelers training camp, where general manager Kevin Colbert told ESPN's Ed Werder on Saturday, "Mike Wallace is not available for trade."

Wallace
This ends speculation that the Steelers were going to move Wallace after signing wide receiver Antonio Brown to a five-year, $42.5 million extension on Friday.

Here are three reasons why the Steelers' best move is not to make a move with Wallace:
  • There's no value in it. The only way shipping Wallace to another team this season makes sense is if an interested team (Miami, Dallas and Indianapolis have been mentioned) gives a first-round pick (don't hold your breath) or a second-round one to the Steelers. There's no reason to take a third-round pick for Wallace now because the Steelers can get some production out of Wallace in 2012 in addition to a potential third-round compensatory pick in 2014. Plus, trading Wallace lets him get a big deal right away from another team, and the Steelers don't want to set a precedent that holding out gets you want you want.
  • There's still a chance that Pittsburgh can keep Wallace. Don't laugh. The prospects of the Steelers signing Wallace now appear grim if you read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. But Wallace is seeking a Vincent Jackson-type contract, not a Larry Fitzgerald one. That means Wallace wants a deal along the lines of $26 million guaranteed in the first two years, which is a far more reasonable demand. Sure, the Steelers would likely have to do more creative bookkeeping to make this work. But the Steelers' history has been that they sign the players they want to keep. What's the worse that can happen by keeping Wallace? He sits out training camp and the first 10 games of the regular season, which gives him time to accrue a full season and become an unrestricted free agent next season. The Steelers would still get six regular-season games out of Wallace as well as the playoffs.
  • There would be a void by trading Wallace. It's reasonable to think Brown could step up and take Wallace's spot as the No. 1 wide receiver. But who takes Brown's place at No. 2? Emmanuel Sanders gets hurt every year, and Jerricho Cotchery's catches have decreased the past four seasons. When the Steelers traded Santonio Holmes before the 2010 season, they had Hines Ward coming off a 95-catch season and Wallace coming off a promising rookie season (19.4-yard per catch average and six touchdowns). It would be a challenge to absorb the loss of Wallace this year.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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