Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert is, arguably, the best personnel man in football. Since he has been effectively running the personnel side of the Steelers organization, they've won two Super Bowls and made three Super Bowl appearances. They've also made the playoffs eight times in eleven seasons.
He's highly respected. He's also known for being a tough nut to crack when it comes to player negotiations. So, it should come as no surprise what Colbert told ESPN's Ed Werder yesterday:
Responding to trade rumors involving multiple teams, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert flatly tells me, "Mike Wallace is not available for trade."— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) July 29, 2012
Yes, yes, yes. I know this is the same Ed Werder who once claimed the Colts piped in fake crowd noise and had absolutely zero evidence to back that claim up. However, in this case, Werder's inside info (provided by Colbert himelf) seems to check out. If it didn't, Colbert and the Steelers would have issued a statement by now screaming that Werder was making up quotes.
The "no trade" talk is also the M.O. for the Steelers, who are leery of trading disgruntled players because of the precedent it could set. However, that doesn't mean Colbert is closed-minded on the subject of trading Wallace.
Here's PFT's Evan Silva:
Colbert is talking tough now, but you can be sure he’s still fielding phone calls. As is always the case in these kinds of scenarios, it’s going to be interesting to see which side becomes the first to budge.
The team that seemingly everyone thinks Wallace could get traded to is the Indianapolis Colts
Even Walter Cherepinsky of Walter Football has worked out what he thinks is the best trade scenario for Indianapolis and Pittsburgh: Wallace to the Colts for their 2013 second round pick.
Pittsburgh won't be able to obtain a first-rounder, so this is the best it could possibly net for its disgruntled wideout.
Meanwhile, the Colts would love to have Wallace. First of all, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians worked with Wallace in Pittsburgh, so there would be no adjustment period, since Wallace already knows the offense. And second, Andrew Luck really needs help at wideout across from the aging Reggie Wayne. Wallace would stretch the field, opening things up underneath for the rookie tight ends.
This trade makes too much sense for it not to happen. Both teams should be calling each other about a deal immediately.
That's better value than what the Steelers got from the Jets for Santonio Holmes, and Holmes is a better all-around WR than Wallace. Factor in that Wallace wants the kind of money that the Buccaneers gave Vincent Jackson ($55 million over five years, including $26 million guaranteed, $26 million in the first two years) and not Larry Firtzgerald-type dollars.
The question is: Does a burner like Wallace deserve that kind of money?
There's no question that Wallace is improving each and every year, and his 16.6 yards-per-reception last season (21.1 the season before that) display the sort of big play ability he brings to the table. He is a difference maker, the kind of player who takes the top off a defense and opens up everything underneath for players like Reggie Wayne and rookies Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen.
This year, the Colts are tight against the cap. However, next year they are expected to have $43 million in free cap cash to spend, making them an ideal fit for Wallace.