NFL teams can't agree to or sign contracts with pending free agents until 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, but the league's new "legal tampering" period, which began at midnight last night, allows teams to talk to the agents of those free agents. That being said, Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero reported late last night that the Patriots have "some interest" in free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace. Salguero also wrote that he believed that the interest was "solid."
Wallace, 26, is expected to be one of the league's highest paid free agents this offseason. In order to sign him, the Patriots would likely need to shell out more than they did to sign their last high prized free agent - Adalius Thomas in 2007. Thomas was given a 5 year, $35 million deal with $20 million guaranteed.
If the Patriots did sign Wallace, it would give the Patriots the bonafide deep threat that they've been looking for since the departure of Randy Moss during the 2010 season. Wallace is an elite downfield threat, but struggled for the Steelers in 2012. He recorded a career low 13.1 yards per catch, and caught just 64 of the 119 passes thrown his direction.
Even if the Patriots do not end up signing Wallace, they could help themselves by expressing interest. Their division rivals, the Miami Dolphins, are also expected to pursue Wallace aggressively. If the Patriots enter the fray for his services, it could drive up the price for the Dolphins, who many, including myself, see as the biggest threat to the Patriots in the AFC East for 2013.
Either way, this will be an intriguing situation to watch over the coming days. Stay tuned!