Did Steelers choose Brown over Wallace?

July, 30, 2012
7/30/12
12:00
PM ET
The headline of the blog is whether the Steelers chose wide receiver Antonio Brown over Mike Wallace. The short answer is no. The popular assumption that the Steelers can't pay Wallace after signing Brown isn't true.

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"Mike is a great player and we'd love for him to be a Steeler for a long time," Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told CBSSports.com. "There are always ways to create room if you decide to do it."

The fact remains Brown is in the future plans and Wallace currently isn't. If Pittsburgh can't sign Wallace and he goes elsewhere next offseason, everyone will remember the Steelers choosing Brown over Wallace, whether it's true or not.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac believes the Steelers are taking a risk by signing Brown. "He's had just one good season," Dulac wrote on Twitter. "Needs to back it up with another."

Some would disagree with that assessment. In fact, Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb said Brown was better than Wallace "in all aspects of the game," and that was before Brown's strong finish to the 2011 season. In the final 11 games (including playoffs), Brown produced 916 yards receiving, an average of 83.2 yards per game. Over that same stretch, Wallace had 607 yards receiving, an average of 55.1 per game.

The best decision that the Steelers could make is keeping both. Pittsburgh has a history of not spending to keep wide receivers (Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes), but Wallace and Brown are a strong combination. Wallace stretches the field with his speed on the outside, and Brown works the underneath routes out of the slot. Between them, they accounted for 141 catches, 2,301 yards, and 10 touchdowns last season. Excuse the Batman reference with the Steelers again (you'll understand after watching the "Dark Knight Rises"), but Wallace and Brown are the top dynamic duo in the division.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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