Plenty of people have been clamoring here and on Twitter for news on whether the 49ers were going to approach Mike Wallace about a potential contract. The Steelers restricted free agent has been the best wide receiver on the market, but given his RFA status, he would require giving up a first round pick and also putting together a lucrative contract that would keep the Steelers from matching.
Apparently that lucrative contract might have required even more cheddar than previously expected. Matt Barrows is reporting that a league source indicated Wallace wants a contract that would surpass Larry Fitzgerald's eight year, $120 million deal. Such a deal would make Wallace the second highest paid receiver behind Calvin Johnson.
While I did not have an issue with paying big money and giving up a first round pick for Wallace, there is a point where the dollars can get a little too crazy. Most of these monster deals are not really as big as they are announced by the agent given how guaranteed money, roster bonuses and unlikely to be earned incentives work in the NFL. In reality, salary cap badass Paraag Marathe might have been able to come up with a functional deal for that kind of money. On the other hand, if Wallace wanted huge guaranteed bucks, that was simply not going to happen.
For Wallace, he will more than likely end up signing the RFA tender for a one year deal. It is a roll of the dice due to potential injuries, but the payoff would be huge next year as an unrestricted free agent. The Steelers might franchise him at that point, but even that is a $9M+ one year deal. And considering they also could lose Antonio Brown next year, the franchise tag might not happen.
For the 49ers, they have taken steps to address some of their needs at wide receiver. Mario Manningham and Randy Moss bring a pair of skillsets that could do good things for the 49ers offense. Both have their weaknesses (Manningham's inconsistency, Moss' age), but there is enough upside to keep things interesting.
Additionally, undrafted free agent Dontavia Bogan will be able to provide some competition at the bottom end of the depth chart. I also think the 49ers still add one more receiver via the draft, and could still do so in the first two days of picks. With Moss signed for one year and Manningham for two years, the 49ers haven't exactly made any long term plans at the position beyond Michael Crabtree. Mannigham could work his way into a longer deal, but we'll have to wait and see how this first year goes for him.
At this point, it will be interesting to see who is starting opposite Michael Crabtree and how the team works the receivers into the rotation. I've got to think Moss gets first crack at being the other "starter", but in reality both Moss and Manningham will receive plenty of playing time to keep both happen.