Should we go after RFA Arian Foster or Mike Wallace?

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    Should we go after RFA Arian Foster or Mike Wallace?

    I brought this up on the draft thread but wanted to open it up to more points of view...

    The new CBA changes the rules for Restricted Free Agents.  The highest tender used to be a 1st and 3rd round tender but now the highest level is just a 1st round tender.  This means a team can sign a RFA from another team and if that team does not match, the acquiring team gives up a first round pick.  The Patriots are the only team with two 1st round picks.

    There are two players who are restricted that I think are worth our pick #31.

    WR Mike Wallace, PIT
    RB Arian Foster, HOU

    Both players will likely get the first round tender.  HOU is in cap jail and they are already facing the loss of Mario Williams and they cannot afford to use the franchise tag on him or Foster.  PIT would also restrict Wallace at the first round level and also would not likely franchise him.  The player would earn approx. $2.8MM under the 1st round restriction on a one-year deal assuming a long term deal isn't reached by early March.  The player does not have to sign right away and may take offers from other teams.

    I'm not saying we would, but we should at least consider making an offer to one or both players.  This would at least force HOU and PIT to match the offer spending far more cap money than they planned in 2012.  If they don't match, we get the player and surrender the pick.  Our own pick is at 31 which is essentially a 2nd rounder so the cost to us would be cheaper than it would for any other team except the Giants plus we have pick #27 from New Orleans to use in the draft.

    I don't think we have to offer mad money either.  A 5 year deal worth maybe $35MM with $20MM guaranteed might be more than enough for the player to sign.  The most important thing to any NFL player is security.  A one year deal for $2.8MM risking a career ending injury or a 5 year deal with $20MM guaranteed right now, which would you take?  Obviously if the player made it through the one year healthy, they stand to make more next year by signing with any team whereas now, pretty much only the Patriots could make the move since they have an extra first rounder.

    I would be inclined to do it with Wallace more so than Foster since Branch is getting old and Wallace is probably the biggest deep threat WR in football and PIT is a constant AFC rival. Addition by Subtraction.  Again, we don't have to offer fair value, we can go less than that and force one or both of these play-off AFC teams to spend cap they weren't planning to spend this early to match our offer.

    Call me crazy, but I like it.  We sort of did this to get Welker but at a cost of a 2nd round pick and pick 31 for Wallace, or Foster to me is a bargain.  To get an elite back or WR for a late 1st to me is a no brainer.  Both guys are worth it vs. an unknown rookie.  Either way, we win.  If Wallace was in the draft this year, he'd go top 10 easy, Foster too.

    Okay, load the arrows...
     
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    Re: Should we go after RFA Arian Foster or Mike Wallace?

    Wow, someone else had the same idea but the 5th overall pick?  We'd only be giving up the 31st.

    2012 NFL Free Agency: Should the Buccaneers Go After Mike Wallace?

    By (Analyst) on February 7, 2012

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    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Wide receiver Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the football on a 95 touchdown reception against the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 32-20.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Assuming Mike Wallace does not agree to a contract extension before free agency opens on March 13th, he will be a restricted free agent.  In recent years not many of the top restricted free agents have switched teams because their current team could tender them with a first- and third-round pick.  The two picks were a higher price than most teams would be willing to pay.

    That has changed with the new CBA.  The maximum tender for a restricted free agent is now a first-round pick.  That means you might see more movement with the top restricted free agents on the market.  Some teams will think it is a better investment to trade the first round pick for a known commodity instead of spending a draft pick on a guy who has never played a down in the NFL.

    The one thing that is still going to make it hard to acquire a restricted free agent is that the player's current team has the right to match any offer he receives.  So in order to get a restricted player away from a team, you have to be willing to not only give up a first-round pick, but you also have to be willing to pay that player and amount that his team is not willing to match.

    That brings us to Mike Wallace.  There is no doubt that Mike Wallace has established himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.  Over the past two year he has 132 catches for 2,450 yards and 18 touchdowns.  That is an average of 18.6 yards per catch.

    The Buccaneers are not going to be able to find a player that can come in and make an immediate impact like Wallace would, even with the fifth overall pick in this year's draft.  However, with all of the needs that Tampa Bay has on both sides of the ball, they cannot afford to pay Wallace the amount of money it would take to make an offer that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be willing to match.

    So while the prospects of adding Mike Wallace are exciting, it is a deal that the Buccaneers simply cannot afford to make.

     

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