INDIANAPOLIS -- The Steelers intend to do everything they can to re-sign top receiver Mike Wallace and keep him with the team for a long time, general manager Kevin Colbert said.
"We want Mike to finish his career with the Steelers and we're pretty sure he wants to end his career with the Steelers," Colbert said today at the NFL scouting combine.
Wallace, a Pro Bowl receiver and one of the league's top deep threats, is a restricted free agent -- meaning he is allowed to talk with other teams and even receive an offer sheet if someone is interested in signing him.
However, the Steelers are expected to offer Wallace the highest tender as a restricted free agent. That means they have the right to match any offer Wallace might receive, and, if not, receive a No. 1 draft pick in return.
"We're going to do everything we can to keep Mike Wallace with the Steelers," Colbert said.
Wallace said on SiriusXM NFL Radio the other day that he would consider playing for the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers -- playoff teams who need outside receivers. Wallace made the comment in response to a question about those teams.
Colbert did not rule out the possibility the Steelers could use the franchise tag on Wallace, though that seems unlikely because that means the Steelers would have to pay Wallace approximately $9 million annually -- a big number for a team trying to get under the salary cap.
Colbert said that determination cannot be made, either, until the salary cap is determined.
Meantime, Colbert said wide receiver Hines Ward remains with the team and no decision will be made on him or other players until the Steelers know the final salary-cap ceiling.
But he added, "We've already had terminations.," referring to cornerback Bryant McFadden and wide receiver Arnaz Battle. "There will be more to come."
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org ; twitter: @gerrydulac First Published February 23, 2012 6:45 PM