In his latest update on the tour across the Unite States of unrestricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, Scott Brown of ESPN.com reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers are still open to re-signing their former third-round draft pick on their terms. If true, then one could easily speculate that being the reason as to why we haven’t seen fellow Steelers unrestricted free agent wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery being re-signed.
Per Brown’s earlier report, teams might not be willing to give Sanders the kind of money he’s seeking because of the problems he’s had in the past with his feet, even though the SMU product hasn’t missed a game over the course of the last two seasons. The Steelers would know Sanders’ medical history better than anyone else, so there could be some level of truth to Brown’s report.
Earlier reports from this past week have stated the Steelers being in contact with Cotchery, but there’s probably no rush to get a deal done right now until the veteran wide receiver gets an offer from another team. Prior to him being re-signed two offseasons ago, Cotchery received very little interest on the free agent market, but after catching 46 passes for 602 yards for a team-high 10 touchdowns last season, he probably wants to shop his services for at least little while before signing, what could be, the last contract of his NFL career.
According to the latest NFLPA update, the Steelers currently have $3,469,434.00 in available cap space, but that’s with 63 players under contract, which appears to be one short of the actual number. So in reality, they’re likely closer to being just $3 million under and you can now see where this would present a problem as it relates to affording either Sanders or Cotchery, in addition to possibly free agent defensive end Alex Carrington, who was in town for a visit on Friday.
The Steelers will eventually receive another $8 million in cap space come June 2 when the release of LaMarr Woodley officially hits the books, but until that time, they will either have to get linebacker Jason Worilds signed to a long-term deal or restructure the contract of linebacker Lawrence Timmons in order to free up more cap space.
With the above said, unless Sanders is really is wanting to take a very cheap one-year deal, it’s hard to fathom him returning to the Steelers in 2014 as surely there will be another team willing to pay him more, troubled feet and all.
As far as Cotchery goes, the delay of re-signing him is likely because of him just wanting to get a good look around as to what his market value is and especially considering that the Baltimore Ravens just signed veteran wide receiver Steve Smith to a three-year deal worth $11 million. Smith, by the way, will turn 35 in May while Cotchery will only turn 32 in June.