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Steelers do not use franchise tag for third straight year

Barring a last-second contract extension offer to any one of several unrestricted free agents, the Steelers will prepare to enter the start of the league season as a few players look to sign elsewhere.

Gregory Shamus

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise, the Steelers elected to avoid using the franchise tag on an impending free agent for the third consecutive year, meaning they will either make one last attempt to sign their pending unrestricted free agents to contract extensions, or they'll let them find deals elsewhere.

Most notably, this means nothing is preventing 2012 starters wide receiver Mike Wallace, cornerback Keenan Lewis and right guard Ramon Foster from signing elsewhere.

Wallace is expected to leave. He allegedly turned down a 5-year, $50 million offer from the team before last season - a deal that would have made him the highest paid receiver in franchise history. Foster was inserted back into the starting lineup when rookie David DeCastro suffered a knee injury in the third preseason game.

Lewis, it seems, has been the team's free agent to keep; they'll just do it without using the franchise tag, which, for cornerbacks, would cost $10.854 million all fully guaranteed and all going immediately against the cap.