Mike Wallace, Restricted Free Agent: Dare To Dream

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08: Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball after a catch against the Denver Broncos during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Over the past few weeks, we've had plenty of discussion about the 49ers options at wide receiver as they look to add some possible playmakers. Guys like Dwayne Bowe and Vincent Jackson could bring a new dimension to the 49ers passing game. There are some potentially great receivers in the draft as well that could provide some long term stability at the receiver position.

One guy I had overlooked entirely prior to yesterday is Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. The Steelers big playmaker is a restricted free agent coming off back-to-back seasons in which averaged 66 receptions, 1,225 yards and nine touchdowns. He averaged 18.6 yards per reception and was a monster once he got the ball in his hands.

I had not really considered Wallace because of his restricted free agent status and my thought that the Steelers would make sure to bring him back. That might not be the case now. The Steelers are projected as being several million dollars over the salary cap heading into the 2012 offseason. The common thought is they will simply go with the first round tender on Wallace instead of the franchise tag.

The franchise tag would just about guarantee the return of Wallace, but the Steelers can't really afford the amount they would have to pay on the tag. If Wallace signs his franchise tender, the entire salary (aproximately $9.4M) hits the 2012 cap and there are no signing bonuses and other incentives to spread out the cap hit.

I consider Wallace to the 49ers a dream in part because of the price it will cost to secure his services. The 49ers have cap space, but they have plenty of their own free agents to consider before looking at outside big ticket free agents. Nonetheless, it is still at least a little fun to consider the possibility of a ridiculous deep threat like Wallace. Whether you send him on a go route or you throw a quick hitch to him and see what he can do after breaking the first tackle attempt.

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