Alex Smith

Alex Smith is back, so Mike Wallace probably isn’t happening

Yesterday, Pro Football Talk elevated “Peter King spit-balling” into a full-fledged rumor that the San Francisco 49ers may still yet acquire Mike Wallace, deep threat extraordinaire. Now that Alex Smith is coming back to the Niners (almost as this past week was nothing more than a delirious dream), fans are turning their attentions back to Wallace.

It’s kind of like someone eyeing a Ferrari after buying a Mercedes and a used Lamborghini (Randy Moss would be the latter, if you couldn’t tell), but even King would probably agree Wallace is a longshot.

Mike Wallace. In the category of “remember where you heard this one,” if the Niners save $8 million a year by not signing Smith and by paying Johnson a low 2012 cap number, I believe they’d consider making an offer for Pittsburgh’s restricted free agent. San Francisco knows it would have to surrender the 30th pick plus a contract in the neighborhood of $8 million a year to get the speedy Wallace, because Pittsburgh would have the chance to match any deal offered to Wallace. This is a longshot, but don’t be stunned to see it happen — if Manning jilts San Francisco and Smith runs off too.

The 49ers need offensive line depth and enough cap room to sign all their draft picks. Wallace isn’t just expensive, the 49ers would have to compete hard to get him. Plus, Trent Baalke values first round draft choices as highly as any general manager the team’s ever had. He’s constantly trading for and signing former first rounders when their perceived value dips a bit. Even though the Niners’ first round pick is at No. 30, he isn’t going to pay top value for a player AND give up his highest draft choice at the same time.

Plus, the Niners still wouldn’t have anyone in place who they can trust to return punts. Ted Ginn’s still available, although he may be a Minnesota Viking by the time this post goes live. My uneducated guess is they’ll sign a free agent guard like Geoff Schwartz and add depth at WR, PR, CB, S and OL in the draft.

So in other words, expect the Mike Wallace to the 49ers press conference on Thursday (just kidding, sort of).


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