Cotchery is a great guy. Truly nice man. I've dealt with some knuckleheads recently -- Wallace and sanders. Cotch just switched to levy ...— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) March 16, 2014
The fact Steelers beat reporter Mark Kaboly calls out both Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders really tells all there is to tell - which is to say fans largely came to this conclusion on their own. If Kaboly confirms it, it won't come as a shock.
But the first part of it has to come into account here. Cotchery is a guy who has always spoken well of the organization, and all the while, not bashing his previous employer, the Jets, who unceremoniously cut him despite multiple accounts labeling him as Kaboly did - a great guy, a great locker room leader and, then and now, a productive player.
On one hand, you hope to hear guys like Cotchery get paid - especially in wake of hearing general sentiment about guys like Sanders and Wallace. If Carolina can pay him more than the Steelers are willing to, then maybe they deserve to have him. Odds are outstanding they'll look at a young receiver in the upcoming draft.
But he's also in a position to boost what the team has been having to build over the last 18 months - the time in which it was obvious Mike Wallace would be gone, and then when Sanders almost left. Cotchery, along with Antonio Brown, had to work through that distraction. It paid off in the sense both had career years in 2013 (Cotchery's 10 touchdowns were a career high, and Brown had a franchise record 1,499 yards receiving).
Now, with Markus Wheaton likely taking Sanders' spot, and the obvious production the team had in their 11 personnel packages last season, the role is primed for an effective slot receiver to help bolster the growth of Wheaton and compliment Brown and a fully healthy Heath Miller.
Money talks, and no one could blame Cotchery for leaving. Perhaps, though, fans may start asking what the direction of the team is, if not for letting both young talent and experienced positive leadership walk.