The Pittsburgh Steelers have tendered an offer to restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace.
The Steelers did not release what the players were tendered, though general manager Kevin Colbert said recently the team would do what it could to keep Wallace. The Steelers have the right to match any offer made to Wallace or would receive compensation if he signs with another team, likely a first-round draft pick.
Wallace made the Pro Bowl after leading the Steelers with 72 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011. He’s one of the NFL’s top deep threats with an average of 18.7 yards per reception during his three-year career.
The Steelers also tendered offers to CB Keenan Lewis, S Ryan Mundy, TE David Johnson and offensive linemen Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster.
Colbert was adamant during last month’s NFL combine that re-signing Wallace was a priority. The Steelers are thin at wide receiver following the release of veterans Hines Ward and Arnaz Battle and Jerricho Cotchery’s free agency.
Wallace said repeatedly throughout the season and in recent weeks through his Twitter account that he wants to remain in Pittsburgh, where he has developed a solid rapport with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and is the leader of a talented young group that includes Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.
If Wallace returns he’ll be playing for a revamped coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley replaces Bruce Arians and assistant Amos Jones will coach the running backs while Kirby Wilson recovers from a late-December fire in his home that left him with third-degree burns.
Coach Mike Tomlin said Monday that Wilson’s recovery is going well and he expects Wilson to return at some point next season.
”He has surprised the doctors with the rate of recovery,” Tomlin said of Wilson. ”Obviously, we still have a long way to go, but it has been just awesome to watch him go through this process and see the improvement in him.”
Tomlin is also eager to get to work with Haley, calling it a ”ridiculous bonus” that the former Kansas City Chiefs head coach was available. Tomlin isn’t sure what the offense will look like when Haley is done with it but is eager to watch the process.
”Obviously, I think we need to have a defined personality, but that’s centered around playing to our strengths,” Tomlin said. ”That changes, of course, depending on what our strengths are. Obviously, we have a solid, franchise-type quarterback. We have some emerging outside talent at wide receiver … Our personality, obviously, is going to be one that is built and geared toward our strengths.”