Now before I get blasted with hate; I do not support this idea, I love all my Steelers. With all of the cap issues the Steelers are having, the releases of Ward, Smith, Farrior, McFadden, etc, etc, the constant need to rework big contracts (see Ben and Woodley) and with holes, at least in terms of depth, at every position other than wide receiver and outside linebacker, the Steelers have serious personnel needs and financial issues. An easy way to solve that would be to package a Mike Wallace deal to the Rams for the No.2 pick in this years draft. With the new collective bargaining agreement, rookies make far less money than in years past, especially at a position such as offensive tackle. The 'Burgh have been having line issues since Alan Faneca left the team in 2007, and the only way to address that issue is through free agency, which the Steelers never do, nor apparently have the capability to do, or through draft picks. The game's top tackles are always taken in the top 5-10 range, the franchise tackles. Jake Long, Trent Williams, Russell Okung, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, etc, are all top of the draft picks. Ben Roethlisberger is the biggest investment on the team at the most important position, and he has been sacked 314 times in his career, the most of any QB in that span of time. Big Ben's style of play has something to do with those numbers, but so do the line. His list of injuries are a testament to both, with one exception. It's not only a smart football move but a smart financial move to keep Ben as protected as possible. Without Rashard Mendenhall starting the season, the better the line, the better off the Steelers will be under new OC Tod Haley. Rooney wants more smash mouth and Haley is that type of coordinator; we just don't have the line for it. If you trade Wallace with draft picks (possibly a second round and a future second round) you can pick Matt Kalil and have a franchise tackle for 13 years and save the later first round pick, hopefully. Again, I don't necessarily agree with this idea, but with the way the Steeler off-season has been going and the seeming lack of financial foresight the Steelers have had in the past (leading up to this fire sale of players) this could save them some money and improve an area of the team that has been lack-luster to say the least.
During the second half of last season, Antonio Brown out-performed Wallace. In the last 8 games of the season, Wallace had 29 catches for 393 yards and 3 TD's, about 3.5 catches and 49 yards a game. In those same games, Brown had 35 catches for 677 yards and 4 TD's, about 4.5 catches and 84 yards a game. Wallace was seeing heavier coverage, and his numbers dropped (as did my fantasy team). It just seemed that Brown improved to the point of being Wallace's near equal. They both averaged about 16 yards per catch, and Brown broke out as a deep threat in his own right with two catches of 79 yards this year. He has the speed, the hands, and the route running will only improve, as did Wallace's. Emmanuel Sanders, when healthy, could blossom into the same type of threat. There were times early in the season when Sanders was seeing the field before Brown, and I believe, if I remember correctly, Sanders went into last year ahead of Brown on the depth chart, then was injured before the season. The point is, I don't think losing Mike Wallace would hurt so much given we already have a younger 1,000 yard receiver, and another who could be poised to do the same. The main reason why I disagree with the proposed Mike Wallace trade is that I, as is much of Steeler Nation, am under the impression that we released Hines Ward in order to free up money to keep Wallace, but from what I am reading, that may not even happen. We could lose Wallace without trading him, so why not get something for him? Tomorrow, I will talk about why they should cut Ben, get rid of his big contract, and sign Peyton Manning to a three year deal, performance based pay (which Peyton has said he would do), allowing them to keep Mike Wallace. Just kidding, but.....?