Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II told Scott Brown from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Friday that he remains hopefully that the team will get restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace signed to a long-term deal at some point. Rooney II said he did not offer up a time frame as to when that might be done and was quoted as saying, “The sooner the better as far as we\’re concerned but there\’s two parties to it. We\’ll have to see what we agree on so I don\’t want to put any particular time frame on it or restrictions on it because these things take time and I wouldn\’t want to box myself in on it.” Rooney did say that they have been in contact with both Wallace and his rep, Bus Cook, throughout this process.
Rooney II made it known in his interviews that immediately followed the 2011 season that getting Wallace signed to a long-term deal would be an offseason priority. General Manager Kevin Colbert has echoed those sentiments as well during his offseason interviews in addition. The team was not able to get that done before the start of free agency so they were forced to tender Wallace at a first round level of $2.74 million instead of using the franchise tag on him because of lack of salary cap space.
On Thursday it was reported by Matt Barrows from the Sacramento Bee that the San Francisco 49ers had interest in Wallace at the beginning of the free agency period, but the demands of Wallace were just too high to meet. Not only would it have cost the 49ers a lucrative contract in the neighborhood of the eight-year, $120 million deal that Larry Fitzgerald signed with the Arizona Cardinals last year, but they also would have had to relinquish their 2012 first round draft pick to the Steelers as compensation.
Teams have until April 20th to sign Wallace to an offer sheet, but that remains very unlikely to happen.