The Steelers will not use the franchise tag on Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Wallace because of salary-cap limitations, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday. Wallace is a restricted free agent, meaning another NFL team could sign him to an offer sheet and the Steelers would receive a first-round draft pick if they choose not to match the offer.
The 6-0, 199-pound Wallace had 72 receptions for 1,193 yards (16.6 per catch) and eight touchdowns in 2011. His production dropped significantly in the second half -- Wallace averaged 104 receiving yards in the Steelers' first seven games (36-730, 20.3, 5 TDs) and 49 in their final 10 games (39-489, 12.5, 3 TDs), including three catches for 26 yards in the Steelers' upset loss to the Broncos in the playoffs.
Wallace, 25, a third-round pick out of Mississippi in the 2009 draft, was indirectly part of the Bears' deal to acquire Jay Cutler from the Broncos in 2009. The Bears exchanged a third-round pick (No. 84) for a fifth-round pick (No. 140) on the end of the deal.
The Broncos traded the 84th pick to the Steelers, who took Wallace. The Bears selected Johnny Knox of Abilene Christian with the fifth-round pick from the Broncos. Wallace (4.33) and Knox (4.34) had the best 40-yard-dash times behind Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey at the Scouting Combine in 2009. Heyward-Bey was drafted No. 7 overall by the Oakland Raiders.
Wallace is averaging 18.7 yards per catch with 24 touchdowns in three NFL seasons. He had 60 catches for 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2010.