The Pittsburgh Steelers have lost a few players to free agency that I think most of us in Steeler Nation would agree that we would have loved to see stick around. The Steelers are poised to lose another free agent if they aren’t careful and act quickly.
Jerricho Cotchery is one of the few offensive players left on the Steelers free agent list that still needs to re-sign with the team. The ten year vet has been waiting patiently for a week, but it appears that patience has run out. Cotchery is reportedly headed to the Carolinas for a visit with the Panthers on Monday. The Panthers are in desperation mode after letting Steve Smith walk and losing three other receivers to other teams. They are in need of quality receivers, and the ten year veteran out of North Carolina State would bring some Red Zone power to the Panther offense. Cotchery snagged ten touchdowns in 2013, and led the Steelers in that category by two over star Antonio Brown.
If the Steelers aren’t careful, the team could lose Cotchery if they don’t make a substantial offer. Despite being 31 and ranking third on the depth chart, Cotchery (and his agent) would be a fool to not know that they had quite a bit of bargaining power. With the recent loss of Emmanuel Sanders to the Broncos over the weekend, the Steelers only have eight career receptions behind Brown – Derek Moye and Markus Wheaton. The Steelers almost need Cotchery as badly as the Panther need him.
The Panthers saved about five million by releasing Smith, and could afford Cotchery who made $1 million in base salary last season. According to Mark Kaboly of the Trib, the NFLPA listed the Steelers as still having about $3.5 million to spend in cap money. That should be plenty to give Cotch a sizable and well deserved pay raise after the season he put in last year. I doubt the Panthers will be able to make an offer that could be as front loaded and filled with guaranteed money as much as the Steelers could.
Let’s hope that the Steelers let Cotch know that he’s wanted by giving him an offer before he even walks through the front office doors of Bank of America Stadium.