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Are 1st round tendered restricted free agents taboo?

Street Talk Are 1st round tendered restricted free agents taboo?

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Mike Wallace should be a former member of the Pittsburgh Steelers by the time the draft rolls around on April 26 – emphasis on “should.” He’s certainly worthy of a mid to late first round pick and the Bengals (17 & 21) and Patriots (27 & 31) just happen to have two each.

But he won’t be.

Once again Wallace WILL be a Steeler.

It is interesting that no one other than the San Francisco 49ers reached out to Wallace. Maybe it was his extremely unrealistic aspirations to take home a bigger W-2 than Larry Fitzgerald that scared teams off.

The thought of that is laughable and actually so radical that you have to wonder if the Steelers organization floated it out there just to keep the speedy wide receiver in black and gold for 2012.

Why wouldn’t the Cincinnati Bengals come knocking on Wallace’s door? They have enough cap room in their coffers to address the national deficit. Not only does the move strengthen Cincinnati, it weakens the AFC North’s perennial favorite.

Ah, lest we forget, they are the Bengals, the NFL’s answer to Ebenezer Scrooge.

What about Peyton Manning’s new team? They too have cash to burn and they clearly need talent on the perimeter to augment the Denver Broncos hefty investment in Eli’s big brother.

Even the Steelers’ archrivals in Baltimore should take a swing at Wallace. They have the draft’s 29th overall pick, have a need at WR and clearly it’s a move that provides immediate benefits to the Ravens while leaving a gaping hole in the Steelers’ offense.

What’s the dealio?

It seems to me that teams have some sort of unwritten understanding that they won’t seriously pursue each other’s restricted free agents. Ok call me a conspiracy theorist but maybe the owners aren’t too keen on players reaching free agent status sooner than they had in the past and they are a bit perturbed by only having a first round pick tender to protect prized young players.

So as part of a retaliatory effort they stay away from other club’s RFA’s more readily than they do their best friend’s girlfriend.

What happens after 2012 is anyone’s guess but if the Steelers don’t sign Wallace to a long-term deal before the season and given their history, the Rooneys will not engage in a bidding war. They will lean on their collective abilities to find the next Mike Wallace to pair up with Antonio Brown.

And then they’ll send No. 17 packing saying thanks for the memories.

 

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin to being John Bonham. Follow Tony on Twitter @RussellStReport. More from Tony Lombardi

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