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Sunday, March 16, 2014

WR could become an issue

The Steelers took an expected hit on Sunday when wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders signed a three-year deal with Denver worth $18 million.

But another, unexpected loss could also be on the way as free agent wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery is scheduled to visit Monday with the wide receiver-starved Carolina Panthers.

If the Steelers lose both wide receivers, they will be in a similar situation to Carolina. The Panthers released wideout Steve Smith last week and he signed with Baltimore, while Brandon LaFell, Carolina’s other starting wideout, signed with New England late Saturday night.

The Steelers still have Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown, but are now in danger of losing two of their top three wideouts.

Sanders was second on the team with 67 receptions for 760 yards and six touchdowns in 2013, while Cotchery led the Steelers with 10 touchdown receptions to go along with his 46 receptions for 602 yards.

If Cotchery, whom the Steelers would like to re-sign, agrees to a deal with Carolina, the only receivers other than Brown with NFL experience on Pittsburgh’s roster would be Derek Moye and Markus Wheaton, two players with eight combined career receptions.

The Steelers have had some talks with Cotchery’s agent and he just returned from a team-sponsored fan cruise on Saturday, but the 31-year-old played collegiately at North Carolina State.

Just in case, the Steelers also have set up a meeting with free agent wideout Lance Moore of New Orleans on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh has just over $3 million in remaining salary cap space after making five free agent signings last week, including Carolina safety Mike Mitchell, though the team can count on an additional $8 million in cap space being cleared June 1 when LaMarr Woodley’s contract comes off its books.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

the wide receiver situation is officially a disaster

Steeler junky said...

Hey Dale,
Any news on the Worilds front.
I take it whatever Worilds is asking for in a long term deal, isn't what the Steelers had in mind.

Noel said...

Worst case at wide receiver we still have Brown and Wheaton. As disasters go, that ain't too shabby.

Anonymous said...

Could Plaxico Burress fill the Cotchery role...if Cotchery leaves?

Robbie said...

Dale, why haven't the Steelers restructured Ben and Timmons? That would give them about $9 million more in cap room, which they sorely need.

Lance Moore is an old smurf. I'd rather they try to get a one-year "prove it" deal done with someone like Sidney Rice or James Jones, or even throw a hail mary with a headcase like Kenny Britt.

Robbie said...

Looking at a free agent list, I think Jason Avant would be a better Cotchery replacement than Lance Moore. At least he has some size.

Regardless, they still need a stud outside WR, which I assume will come through the draft.

Steve-O said...

Everybody settle down... Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and a first round draft choice (Mike Exans or Marquise Lee) coupled with LeVeon Bell and a healthy Heath Miller and this offense will be fine. Certainly Cotchery is a nice safety blanket but he's no offensive savior.

Anonymous said...

It's just a completely huge gaffe that the steelers essentially gave up a 2013 3rd round pick, and gave Sanders a 100% raise last season, for nothing!!

marc said...

I'm pretty sure I saw sanders playing WR for the steelers last season.

I think the biggest issue if cotchery is gone is the lack of stability he would provide, both from a leadership standpoint and on the field. they will probably have the opportunity to draft a WR with better "measureables", but that WR will be at the beginning of the learning curve.

I, too, am wondering why they haven't had at least one more restructuring yet (#7/Timmons) to give space for one or two more signings. maybe this week.

Slab said...

Hindsight is 20/20. It's easy to say the Steeler's should have let Sanders go for a 3rd, but that is only because of looking at it through the lens of knowing last year with Sanders ended up at 8-8. If they had let Sanders go and struggled at the WR spot and finished 8-8, a large portion of the fan base would be disgusted they "gave away" a season in Ben's prime for a 3rd round pick.....

Eric T said...

Preach on Slab!

Avant or Rice on a 1 year deal should provide depth in case a rookie WR struggles or we get an injury.

Dale Lolley said...

They kept Sanders because they thought he made them a better team in 2013. That is how this team works.

They haven't done anything with Roethlisberger or Timmons' contracts because they won't do so unless they have to. Right now, they have cap space.

If they need to create some additional space, then they will turn some of Timmons' 2014 salary into signing bonus. Don't want to kick more cash down the road unless they have to.

marc said...

understood, i guess i just expected them to sign Carrington and a WR by now. Carrington will be visiting the raiders and rams as well. aside from his injury, is there something else turning teams off?

Anonymous said...

If WR is an issue, I say move up in the draft (if you can find a partner) and grab Sammy W. To have a weapon like him would give this O the next
biggest threat in the NFL.
It's cheaper to move up to grab him than to sign a vet with his talent.

Steve said...

Without knowing what he (and his agent) is looking for, my guess would be the hesitancy on Carrington besides the quad injury would be how largely unproven he is. He looks like a player who could very well be on the verge on breaking out, but he only got three games as a starter last season before suffering the injury.

Steve said...

If Watkins somehow falls to around 10th, I think you at least try to move up to get him. He's the clear, consensus #1 in what's widely considered a very deep wr group.

Anonymous said...

We are always in this position, Antonio brown was nothing his first year. This year will be Markus Wheaton, our coaches will step up like always.

Dale Lolley said...

This is an extremely deep WR draft. No need to move up

Anonymous said...

It might be deep, with one of those players being above the rest..

You can sit back and say "let em fall" or you can gamble a little bit and get someone elite..