Steelers likely will use high tender on Wallace

The Steelers haven’t hidden the fact they plan to retain Pro Bowl WR Mike Wallace. How exactly they’ll go about it remains undecided.

As the Steelers maneuver for more salary-cap space, GM Kevin Colbert let it be known this week that the team will allow its free agents to hit the open market.  That likely will include Wallace, a restricted free agent whom the Steelers would like to lock up to a long-term deal after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora suggested Tuesday on “NFL Total Access” it’s “more likely” the Steelers will place the highest free-agent tender on Wallace than use the franchise tag, which is expected to rise to $13.7 million this offseason. As a restricted free agent under the highest tender, teams would have to part ways with a first-round pick as well as ante up a new contract for Wallace.

“If someone starts dangling a massive contract in front of him and is willing to part with that first-round pick, maybe the Steelers are vulnerable,” La Canfora said. “History would say there won’t be a play for him, but you never know.”

As small as those chances are, the Steelers are in a corner. A team with multiple first-round picks and a need at receiver — such as the Patriots — could be tempted.

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