Rooney: Steelers still eyeing long-term deal with Wallace
The Steelers want to sign wide receiver Mike Wallace to a long-term contract, though team president Art Rooney II said today that he doesn't know when a deal might get done.
"The sooner the better as far as we're concerned but there's two parties to it," Rooney told the Tribune-Review. "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."
Wallace, who has 3,206 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns in his first three seasons, is a restricted free agent. The Pro Bowler has not generated much interest from other teams, and that may be due to Wallace's cost.
Any team that signs Wallace has to give the Steelers its first-round draft pick this year if the Steelers don't match the offer. According to the Sacramento Bee, the 49ers shied away from Wallace even though they had interest in him because he is seeking Larry Fitzgerald money. Fitzgerald signed an eight-year, $120 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals last year.
Rooney declined to talk specifically about any negotiations that have taken place between the Steelers and Wallace.
The Steelers have offered Wallace a one-year, $2.74 million deal, the highest tender a team can give to a restricted free agent. He becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2012 season.
"We stay in constant touch with him and his representatives," Rooney said.
The salary cap could be an issue as far as the Steelers signing Wallace to a long-term deal before the start of the 2012 season.
A series of contract restructurings and cuts allowed the Steelers to get in compliance with the 2012 salary cap earlier this month, but they only have around $6 to $8 million in cap room.
"It's something you have to adjust as time goes on but I think we feel like we are where we need to be at this point," Rooney said of the Steelers' salary cap situation. "Probably more decisions are going to have to be made this offseason and some contract decisions are going to have to be made. There's certainly more to come in terms of putting all of the pieces together on this team. I think we're comfortable where we are and looking forward to the draft."