Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and soon to be free agent Mike Wallace made an appearance on SiriusXM Radio earlier today to chat with Adam Schein and Rich Gannon about his possible free agency destinations (thanks to Shaner021 for the FanShot). Wallace was specifically asked whether he would consider the 49ers or Patriots in free agency, to which he responded that he would consider them given their contender nature.
Wallace was asked what he was considering in free agency. I will give him credit for indicating money is one of the things he is considering. It is always an issue but players often roll out the line "I'm going to do what is best for my team." Props to Wallace for honesty. Beyond that he also mentioned he needs to go to a winning situation and he wants a good quarterback.
Although both the 49ers and Patriots have plenty of other issues to address with their cap money, they both conceivably have the kind of cap room to spend on a big ticket item like Wallace. At this point, rumors indicate Wallace is likely to receive a first round tender instead of the two pick franchise tag. The Patriots have an additional draft pick they could use, while the 49ers pick down at No. 30 is the kind of pick that isn't so awful to give up if they somehow worked out a contract with Wallace. It is worth noting that plenty of rumors are also floating that Brandon Lloyd will end up following Josh McDaniels to New England.
I don't necessarily think the 49ers will stick around in what could turn into a sizable bidding war for Wallace. They won't ignore him, but if someone is willing to take things to another level (Baltimore?), I would imagine the 49ers are more inclined to take a step back and use their cap space elsewhere.
What I like as much as anything about this is that the franchise finds itself back in the discussion among winners. In recent years, the team either had to overpay players or settle for second tier free agents. Justin Smith has worked out as well as anybody could expect, but even when that deal happened, people figured the 49ers had taken the needed extra step to make it happen, much like they did with Nate Clements.
The 49ers will not be getting any sorts of crazy discounts now that they are coming off a winning season and have a great coach, but they suddenly possess certain contract tiebreakers. Aside from the great Bay Area weather, they have a coach players love, they have a front office spending money, and they have a team on the rise. This all helps the team continue improving where needed through free agency.