Thursday, February 23, 2012

Steelers and 49ers GMs Talk Mike Wallace at NFL Combine.

The NFL Combine is here and the Steelers brass was present and accounted for. Ken Laird, host of and Steelers beat writer from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Scott Brown, also of the Trib, were on site to talk with Steelers GM Kevin Colbert.

Colbert talked candidly about what the Steelers are needing to do to get themselves salary cap healthy.

As of about 4:30 EST, the Steelers are almost at Cap Zero, down approximately $29.35 million in 2 weeks, now that Ben Roethlisberger has restructured. What needs to be remembered, though, is that this DOES NOT include the money that still is to be tendered to the exclusive rights (Steve McLendon, Isaac Redman and Jeremy Kapinos-and they have to take whatever is offered) and restricted free agents (Mike Wallace, Ryan Mundy, David Johnson, Ramon Foster, Keenan Lewis and Doug Legursky). That could take the Salary Cap/Rule of 51 number, especially once you consider whatever dead money (left-over prorated signing bonus money) that has to be added, to anywhere from $1.5 to $6.5 million. But, that's definitely easier to handle now.

Now, these are just raw numbers, mind you. But Steelers GM Kevin Colbert did address such issues when he talked to the media this morning. Colbert said, after being asked about slashing salary cap space to make room for Wallace’s franchise number, “We want to make sure Mike can finish his career with the Steelers. I’m very confident that Mike wants to finish his career with the Steelers and play with a great quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger.... We think he’s only scratched the surface in what he can do."

San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke was on Sirius XM Radio this morning with Adam Schein and Rich Gamnon at the 2012 NFL Combine. Indirectly Baalke was asked about Steelers' unrestricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace and the comments he made about his mind "wandering" toward playing for another team.

Schein acknowledged in his questioning that he knew Baalke couldn't mention Wallace directly by name, as that would be "tampering", but he did ask if that kind of deep threat receiver would be the kind he would be looking for in the offseason. Baalke said, "We're looking for guys that can make plays. We feel that we have a couple that can and we're looking for some more that can make plays. Obviously there's guys in the league, that when they get the ball in their hand they can score, and I'm not going to talk about any particular player individual, but that's what you're looking for. You're looking for a play maker at the position. Guys that can turn a 3-yard hitch into an 83-yard touchdown. The more of those guys you have, the better you can be offensively. So, we are always looking. We feel there are some players in free agency that fit that mold and we feel that the draft has some guys that fit that mold. So, we're going to do everything we can to make the right decisions in that area."

The 49ers have only the one first round draft pick in the upcoming NFL draft and that pick is the no. 30. They're one of four teams that could look to sign Wallace to an offer sheet should he be tendered at a first round level.