Those who follow the Pittsburgh Steelers have speculated all off-season about the team possibly releasing veteran receiver Jerricho Cotchery for the sake of salary cap savings. Despite still being on the roster, some are now targeting him as trade bait.
CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora believes the Steelers and Cotchery could find a hungry market should they place him on the trading block based on a perceived lack of WR depth in the NFL.
La Canfora could be correct. Nicked-up veteran Steve Breaston found himself connected to several teams during the off-season, despite concerns over a physical inability to continue his career. The Detroit Lions worked out Breaston among others earlier this off-season after parting ways with troubled youngster Titus Young. He also points to the Baltimore Ravens signing of Brandon Stokely and Dallas Clark, and the San Francisco 49ers retread of Austin Collie.
Cotchery's former team, the New York Jets, are revisiting Braylon Edwards, while taking a chance on beleaguered 'soldier' Kellen Winslow. La Canfora also points at Jets rival New England Patriots who have turned to Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola after losing Wes Welker to the Denver Broncos. The Patriots made a play for the Steelers Emmanuel Sanders earlier this off-season, offering him a $2.5 million offer sheet which the Steelers eventually matched.
The Steelers have looked deep at the WR position through training camp and the early stages of the preseason. Draft selections Markus Wheaton and Justin Brown have looked strong in practice and game action, leaving many to believe both could make the final roster. Big Derek Moye has also flashed potential, although he is far from polished. Undrafted rookie J.D. Woods made some tough grabs against the New York Giants in the first preseason game, making him at least a strong practice squad candidate. Even rookie Reggie Dunn is drawing consideration due to his speed and well documented kick return prowess.
Pittsburgh has needs all across the roster and will have some awfully tough decisions to make. Perhaps trading Cotchery would prevent the Steelers from losing a young prospect they believe could be a future star with time to develop; especially if they believe Sanders will leave in free agency following this season.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has talked in the past about the rarity of trades in the NFL, and the most notable trade for Pittsburgh in recent memory was the draft day trade which brought Jerome Bettis to town in 1996. While trades may not be typical business practice, perhaps La Canfora has a point should the Steelers young receiving corps continue to impress through the remainder of the preseason.
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