|Pittsburgh might decide to tender Wallace, a restricted free agent, instead of franchise tagging him. (Getty Images)|
A day after announcing that they would cut Hines Ward, the Steelers are leaving themselves open for the possibility of another receiver leaving the team.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Steelers will tender -- and not franchise tag -- restricted free agent Mike Wallace.
Wallace is coming off a 72-catch, 1,193-yard, eight-touchdown season in Pittsburgh, where he led the team in all categories. He’s also one of the NFL’s best deep receiver threats, averaging 18.7 yards per catch in his three-year career. At this point, he’s a star in the making.
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The franchise tag would cost the Steelers about $9.4 million for 2012, and there’s little chance for the math to work. Pittsburgh now has to hope Wallace isn’t seen by the rest of the league as worthy of a first-round pick.
The Steelers claimed during the combine that they want Wallace to finish his career in Pittsburgh, as general manager Kevin Colbert said, “We think he's only scratched the surface in what he can do. There's a lot left there that still can be developed and we're anxious to see it happen as a Steeler."
But if the Steelers do, in fact, decide to tender Wallace instead of tag him, the chances of that actually happening will grow slimmer.
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