Just want to throw some stats at you. Namely yards per pass attempt. Let's look at Ben's full career, yards per attempt for Steeler QB's.
2004 and 2005 Ben threw less than 400 times and for less than 3000 yards. In 2006 the reigns were loosened and we started throwing the ball more. It is natural for a QB with a dominant running game, a great O-Line and few attempts to put up bigger YPA. As the Steelers threw more the yards per attempt went down. Then in 2009 it goes way up again.
The Steelers didn't get back to 2005 level of O-Line play, and we still threw the ball a ton. The difference:
Mike Wallace isn't a great receiver in my opinion, but what he is extremely valuable to your offense. Mike Wallace is an elite deep threat, and being that he forces match-ups for the defense and stretches zone coverage. He creates space for other receivers to operate in.
Unless Mike Wallace consistently drops deep balls when he's open (Nate Washington anyone?) he will retain that value.
Is Mike Wallace the receiver worth a big contract? No. Is the difference an elite deep threat makes to your whole passing offense worth a big contract? That's a much more difficult question.
The non-signing certainly frees up trade partners with the ability to take the 1st round pick off the board. I could see a team with a young QB make a play for Wallace to get that deep threat that gives other WR's a little more space, which means I can see Indianapolis becoming interested. Look at the Colts, that WR group is no good. Wayne isn't what he was, Garcon is gone. Add in Wallace and Wayne no longer draws your best CB. Bruce knows the value Wallace brings to the offense, and with a big time young QB to develop you want to give them every advantage.
Hines Ward getting old, Holmes leaving, these events didn't change the numbers as much as Wallace stretching the field did. I can't help but wonder how good A. Brown is going to look without Wallace drawing safeties and top corners. I know I'm in a stark minority on this site, but I honestly think Wallace is worth a big contract to our offense, and if we lose him and don't replace his value as a field stretcher we could be in trouble.