A nightmare, one even worse for Steelers fans than (gasp!) Todd Haley and Ben Roethlisberger not talking for weeks after the former’s hiring, is unlikely to happen.
The Ravens have been one of the teams linked to restricted free agent Mike Wallace through connecting-of-the-dots speculation. But general manager Ozzie Newsome all but took the Ravens out of the running for Wallace, who can entertain offers from other teams if the Steelers only make a tender offer to him.
The Steelers are leaning toward using the highest tender on Wallace instead of a franchise tag. If they go that route, teams still have to give up a first-round draft pick to sign Wallace away from the Steelers.
And Newsome values first-round draft picks as much as Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert does for the same reason: both have been so successful picking in that round.
Newsome also pointed out another drawback of signing a restricted free agent.
“At that point the player and the agent has the leverage because you have to do a deal that you don’t think the other team is going to match,” Newsome said Friday at the NFL Combine, “and then giving up a first-round pick? That first-round pick, the amount of money you have to pay over the next four years, is not like it was in the previous CBA so you have to factor all of those things in before you decide to make that decision. There’s some teams that have two (first-round picks) this year? Could they do it? Possibly but they’ll be thinking about all of those other ramifications.”
Does that mean Newsome has ruled out signing a restricted free agent to bolster Baltimore’s receiving corps?
“When I wake up tomorrow, I just never know what I might do,” he said.
– Scott Brown