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Mike Wallace An Attractive Option For 49ers, But Not At Larry Fitzgerald Money

At the beginning of this free agency period, there was a small push by fans campaigning for the San Francisco 49ers to sign Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. It just so happens that this writer was leading that campaign, but that's neither here nor there. The biggest issues in regards to signing Wallace are that he'll cost any team a first-round pick due to his restricted free agent tender, and he'll cost boatloads of legal tender.

Now, this writer is of the opinion that the 49ers need to go out and get a No. 1 receiver, and they need to pay him like one. San Francisco hasn't been paying a No. 1 receiver in some time, and it's about time they sink $9 million to $11 million per year into that position to get someone dependable.

But according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, Wallace didn't just want No. 1 money. Wallace was looking for ridiculous money. Barrows says that Wallace is looking for a deal that exceeds Larry Fitzgerald's deal of eight years at $120 million. That's insane ... absolutely insane in every way. Wallace is only 25 years-old, and is definitely a No. 1 receiver, but he's not the No. 1 receiver.

It does feel good to know that the 49ers did look into signing Wallace at the start of free agency, though. It shows that the team knows they need to get better, even after signing Mario Manningham. That being said, it doesn't mean Wallace is fully off the market. If he wants to get paid sooner rather than later, he could budge on his contract talks and take, say, a shorter deal.

The other teams interested aren't likely to pay him that number, either. So Wallace can either make less than $3 million this year or lower his demands. That being said, it might be smart for him to just play out this tender and his unrestricted free agency in 2013 - but then the Steelers could use the franchise tag on him. There's a lot of options right now, but it's a good bet to say that there are teams interested in paying him like a No. 1. Just not .. Fitzgerald No. 1.