1. It's a business, and all businesses realize that tough decisions need to be made in the present in order to prepare for the future. Pittsburgh has many needs and could use some extra draft picks, especially high picks, in order to truly meet these needs and keep the team in the hunt for more Super Bowl trophies in the near future. Trading Mendenhall now won't bring enough value to help meet these needs, but trading Wallace would. We could potentially get a first and third rounder for Wallace, and this would give us 2 first and 2 third round picks this year. We could either use the two first round picks on the offensive line, picking up a guard and a tackle, thus solidifying the line for years to come, keeping in mind we already have Pouncey and Gilbert, and use the 2 thirds to help with the defense (a safety, nose tackle, etc.), or split the first round picks between offense and defense.
Tim Mullhaupt recently posted his thoughts on trading Rashard Mendenhall. Of course, with Mendy's injury, the value we would receive would be minimal and not worthwhile. However, there is one person who, if we seek a trade now while his name is a hot commodity in the league, should bring much greater compensation--Make Wallace. Now I realize many here at BTSC love the guy, and he is, in fact, one of the best deep threats in the league. Of course, this is one of the reasons we should pull the trade now. Following are some of my other reasons why we should seek to trade Wallace rather than Mendenhall.
2. We have two young, more athletically gifted receivers to replace Wallace. Both Brown and Sanders have good to great speed, and both have better hands and make better adjustments to balls in the air. If we re-sign Cotchery, who would be much cheaper than Wallace, and bring Hines back at a much lower salary, and work the tight ends (Saunders and Heath) more into the passing attack (ala the New England Patriots), I don't believe our passing attack would suffer and we could actually build a better offensive line.
3. While Wallace is a good deep threat, the last half of the season has shown he can be completely rendered a non-factor. He lacks physicality to be a great run-after-the-catch receiver, has difficulty adjusting to poorly thrown balls, doesn't run great routes, and has so-so hands for anything other than the deep, over-the-shoulder-catch. He adds nothing in the return game either. Do we really need a receiver who, despite some minimal improvement this year, is still only a one-trick pony?
4. Trade him while he's hot. Antonio Brown is quickly ascending to the top of Pittsburgh's receivers, and I'm wondering if soon, some teams will second guess Wallace's abilities. After all, Brown appears to make the more difficult grabs, works better over the middle, and makes better adjustments to back-shoulder throws. When teams begin to realize that Wallace lacks these talents, his trade value will plummet. Get what we can, while we can.
5. Of course, this is also hoping that Sanders's injuries are behind him. Sanders is the best route runner of the three, and has just as much speed as Brown (in fact, he had the better time at the combine). He also supposedly has the best hands of the three. It's unfortunate that we haven't been able to see him enough due to his injuries, but I think he's shown enough that we can feel comfortable trading Wallace and set Brown and Sanders as our starters. Yes, they're both on the small side, but Wallace isn't big either, and we can use the extra third receiver on a big receiver if need be. After all, Sanders and Wallace were both third round picks, and Brown was a sixth rounder.
Of course, this is probably an unpopular idea, and I, too, have reservations about it. After all, Wallace's deep speed can open doors for all the other receivers, as well as the tight ends. And I also like Wallace--hes seems like a nice, humble guy who works exceptionally hard. But I also recognize we could use the extra high draft picks to solidify our offensive line, defensive line, and other areas of concern. And this is important if we wish to continue being a force in the coming years. Trading Mendy won't bring us these high picks; trading Wallace might. Besides, we'll have to offer Wallace a contract soon, and I'm afraid we might end up overpaying someone who has yet to establish himself as anything other than a deep threat.