Stop us if you've heard this one. The San Francisco 49ers could be in pursuit of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. This idea has been around since the start of free agency, when Wallace become a restricted free agent tendered at the first-round level. This means that, in order to get Wallace, the 49ers would need to pay him more than Pittsburgh is willing to, and also forfeit the 30th-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
That statement in and of itself ("forfeiture of first-round pick") is a scary one to most NFL fans, but take a look at that number again. No. 30. That's a spot where the 49ers aren't guaranteed to find somebody they really like, especially at positions of need like offensive guard and wide receiver. Is Stephen Hill a better option than Wallace? Surely not.
Wallace is, again, 25 years old, very productive, and one of the best deep threats in the NFL. On the 49ers, he'd be an instant No. 1 receiver, and the great thing is, there's plenty of room for him. Sure, the 49ers just inked Mario Manningham to a two-year deal, but Manningham certainly isn't a No. 1 receiver. In fact, he's best suited in a slot role, which leaves Michael Crabtree to be the No. 1 guy.
While Crabtree showed a lot of poise and promise as the 2011 season dragged on, he hasn't lived up to his status as a top-ten pick and it's not likely that he ever will. But as a No. 2 guy, Crabtree really could flourish. Don't even mention Randy Moss, because he has no business being in any projected top three right now, which isn't a terrible thing. Moss is a tryout -- an undrafted rookie and nothing more. Forget about him for now.
Peter King is the one who isn't letting the Wallace rumors die down, suggesting that San Francisco could be in play under certain circumstances. King isn't a believer in Colin Kaepernick, and suggests the 49ers would sign Josh Johnson for a low number, but the point is that if San Francisco loses out on the Peyton Manning sweepstakes and Alex Smith ends up going to the Miami Dolphins, then they'd have considerable money to throw at Wallace.
Personally, this seems like a real possibility. The 49ers knew the risks of flirting with Manning when it came to Smith's status, and we all know that the team traded up to pick Kaepernick in the 2011 NFL Draft. They clearly believe in Kaepernick, and what better way to support him than by giving him Wallace? Kaepernick certainly has a huge arm -- try and find a better situation to put him in than starting QB of the 49ers, with their special teams and defense and guys like Wallace, Crabtree, Manningham, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore on offense.
Just try. We'll wait.