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Steelers Can’t Overpay Free Agent WR Jerricho Cotchery Just To Keep Him

You can’t blame veteran Pittsburgh Steelers unrestricted free agent wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery for wanting to take a visit or two this offseason as he’s certainly earned the opportunity to do so after the season he had in 2013.

Cotchery, who will reportedly visit with the Carolina Panthers on Monday, is well aware of the deal that the soon-to-be 35-year-old Steve Smith signed this week with the Baltimore Ravens and this will likely be his last chance to cash in as well. Cotchery, by the way, won’t turn 32 until June.

As much as all of us don’t want Cotchery to leave Pittsburgh, the Steelers can’t overpay him to stay. Smith received a three-year, $11 million contract with $4.5 million guaranteed from the Ravens and in my opinion, that’s too much to give to Cotchery, as a good chunk of the $3.5 million signing bonus would likely be dead money by as soon as next season. In addition, Cotchery’s 2014 cap charge on a deal like the one Smith recently received would be nearly 2.16667 million.

The Panthers are all about out of wide receivers after cutting Smith and losing Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon so far in free agency. They need bodies and Cotchery,  who played his college football at North Carolina State, would be a decent one that could help groom their young receiving core.

The Panthers currently have almost $8 million in cap space as of Sunday morning, so if Cotchery’s visit goes well, there’s a good chance they offer him a deal of some kind. At that point, the Steelers will likely be given an opportunity to match it unless the wide receiver has more visits scheduled. Hopefully it’s a modest deal similiar to the one he signed with the Steelers a few years ago.

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