Mike Wallace wants to be paid like Larry Fitzgerald

Wonder why your team hasn’t been in hot pursuit of Mike Wallace, the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver that would seemingly offer good value even tendered at the highest level as a restricted free agent?

Well, Wallace is shooting for the moon. And then some. Just because you want to make a deal with Wallace doesn’t mean it will happen.

The Steelers are in a tight salary-cap position that they’ve tried to massage by releasing a handful of veteran players. If a team signs Wallace to an offer sheet and the Steelers elect (or cannot) match it, the price tag is a first-round draft pick. For teams in the second half of the first round, it looks enticing. But then you have to consider the contract you’ll have to pay Wallace vs. the slotted deal that will go to a first-round draft pick.

That is where there is a big issue. A huge one, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. The 25-year-old Wallace is seeking a blockbuster contract. Per Barrows, he wants a deal that eclipses the $120 million, eight-year package that Larry Fitzgerald received from the Arizona Cardinals. That should be about the end of the discussion right there.

Wallace has been a terrific deep threat for the Steelers and he’s a talented performer worthy of a long-term investment. But a Fitzgerald pay day? A Calvin Johnson pay day? Not now.

Wallace can potentially be an unrestricted free agent next year if the Steelers can’t get a deal done with him or elect not to use the franchise tag. Right now, Wallace has to be looking ahead to that because no one is going to fork over a first rounder and a Fitzgerald-type deal for Wallace. Per Barrows, the San Francisco 49ers explored the option. Surely, the sticker shock sent them running for cover.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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