Wallace to 49ers? Not if Steelers can help it

Wallace to 49ers? Not if Steelers can help it
February 23, 2012, 10:40 pm
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Receiver Mike Wallace -- with his blazing speed, 3,200 yards in three seasons and an 18.7 yards per catch career average -- would seem to be a nice fit for the 49ers.But Wallace remains the property of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and general manager Kevin Colbert said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine the organization is determined to retain his services.Wallace is scheduled to be a restricted free agent. The Steelers have some salary-cap issues, as they must clear a reported 13 million in space before March 13, when the new league year begins.
There remains a possibility the Steelers could place the franchise tag on Wallace to all but guarantee he'll return for at least another season. But the Steelers would have to clear enough room to account for the projected 9.4 million franchise salary.Colbert said the Steelers, at least, expect to present Wallace with a tender that would allow them to get a first-round draft pick if they do not match an offer sheet."Once we determine what his tender will be, we'll know what our (potential) compensation will be," Colbert said. "I'm pretty sure he's going to be protected with a first-round pick at minimum. There's always a franchise (tag) possibility. But not knowing what our cap total situation is until we get a final number, I really can't say."We're going to do everything we can to make sure Mike Wallace remains a Pittsburgh Steeler. I think that's Mike's belief as well. Usually when you have two parties that share the same goal, it's usually easier to achieve that goal."Wallace was asked on Sirius XM Radio this week whether he would consider playing for the 49ers or New England Patriots."Most definitely those are two teams that are playoff caliber teams, Super Bowl caliber teams," Wallace said. "I think that the right person or the right piece for those guys could put them over the top. All they need is one more piece ... most definitely, those are Super Bowl contending teams."RELATED: Is Wallace the 'right piece' for the 49ers?
The 49ers are expected to be interested in acquiring Wallace as a restricted free agent. With a first-round tender, Wallace would be free to negotiate with other NFL teams. He would sign a tender with the highest bidder, and the Steelers would have the right to match. Pittsburgh would receive a first-round draft pick as compensation if they decline to match.Colbert would not rule out the Steelers and Wallace remaining together for a long time. Colbert said it is possible the Steelers would use their franchise tag on Wallace.MAIOCCO: 49ers free-agent options at wide receiver
"The thing I can say for sure about Mike is that we want Mike to finish his career with the Steelers," Colbert said. "I'm very confident Mike wants to finish his career with the Steelers and play with a great quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger and the other receivers we have. We think he's only scratched the surface in what he can do. There's a lot left there that can still be developed. We're anxious to see it happen as a Steeler."