GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23: Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his touchdown with head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger #7 during the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee is reporting San Francisco looked into signing Steelers restricted free agent WR Mike Wallace, but ultimately declined to make an offer (nod to Steelers 101 for pointing it out). According to Barrows, Wallace is seeking a deal that exceeds Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald's eight-year $120 million contract.
Barrows also mentioned "other teams" were also looking into Wallace, and suggested they, too, were deterred by the asking price.
News like that suggests Wallace's intentions are two-fold:
1.) He's had dollar signs in his eyes for quite a while, and he feels the market will bear him the same value as a six-time Pro Bowl receiver who will surpass the 10,000 yard mark this year (he's at 9,615) barring injury.
2.) He's setting the bar so ridiculously high now because his intention is to re-sign with Pittsburgh, and could already be underway with a deal he really wants with his original team.
Option 1 seems borderline laughable, but yesterday, Tebow being traded to the Jets seemed laughable. Anything's possible in the league.
Option 2 seems a bit more black-and-gold colored glasses, but it's certainly reasonable he'd want to stay with the team if the team is willing to pay his market value. What crosses this theory up is one would be inclined to believe Wallace would leverage such an opportunity back at the Steelers in an effort to drum up more money.
Barrows noted calls to Wallace and his agent went unanswered, suggesting no one in Wallace's camp is the direct source.
Needless to say, the odds of the Steelers giving Wallace that big of a contract (obviously depending on the particulars, guaranteed money being the biggest piece) are very small. It seems odd Wallace would say that's his asking price, knowing a team would have to sign him to a deal that, frankly, his production cannot support while giving up a first round pick as well.
Speculation floods the media this time of year, and it's tough to suggest this report is either true or untrue, but regardless, it will certainly push the outcome of Wallace playing in Pittsburgh in 2012 to the front of the line of possible scenarios, with all other options being far behind it.