Quarterback Peyton Manning has now handed out his free agent bachelor rose to the Denver Broncos, and with the flurry off big named free agency signings now behind us, the full force speculation will now turn back to Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace, and if the Broncos will pursue him with a large front loaded offer sheet and their first round pick in 2012 draft.
The Broncos entered the 2012 free agency period with $40 million plus in cap space and have since signed safety Mike Adams and re-signed middle linebacker Joe Mays. They have however lost wide receiver Eddie Royal and tight end Daniel Fells since free agency started. Their primary receiving core currently consist of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Matt Willis and D\’Andre Goodwin as of right now, so you can see why several are linking Wallace to the Broncos.
The receiver position is not the only need of the Broncos moving forward though as Denver Post beat writer Lindsay Jones pointed out Monday morning. She states that the Broncos could still use a young running back, defensive tackle, right cornerback and linebacker depth. She also notes that interior offensive line depth is needed along with a tight end and speculates that Dallas Clark, who played with Manning in Indianapolis, could be an obvious addition there.
Now of course the Broncos are surely to address several of their needs in the upcoming draft and they figure to still have a good deal of cap room in 2012 even with the addition of Manning, so the question becomes if they are willing to surrender a first round pick for Wallace and a hefty offer sheet with a big enough first year cap hit that the Steelers will not be able to match it.
Let\’s not forget that there are still other options out there for the Broncos as well in the form of Plaxico Burress, Lee Evans and Ted Ginn Jr. Admittedly none of those players are the same level as Wallace is, but none of them will carry the high price tag and first round draft pick as compensation either and the Broncos could still add a top notch receiver in the first round that could stretch the field in addition.
Before free agency started, many Steelers fans were fearful that the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals would all have Wallace in their free agency sights. It is pretty safe to rule out the Patriots and 49ers now and the Bengals chasing Wallace is just not in the MO of Bengals owner Mike Brown. That pretty much leaves the Broncos as the lone team left and you will continue to hear that for the next several weeks.
Personally I still think the 1st round pick and the threat that the Steelers will match will be enough to scare the Broncos off. Unfortunately it will still take another couple of weeks to get our answer and that means plenty of speculation to endure during that time.