The Steelers signed Jerricho Cotchery in 2012, not long after the Jets released him - their hope was to bring him back at a lower price.
They failed in their effort.
Perhaps they're trying to exact some revenge. Steelers free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is being linked as a possible target for the Jets when the free agency period begins in March.
The AFC East loves Sanders, apparently. The Patriots made him an offer the Steelers ended up matching in restricted free agency. Or maybe it's just Steelers receivers in general; Pittsburgh traded Santonio Holmes to the Jets in 2010, and Mike Wallace signed with the Dolphins last spring.
Holmes is part of the reason the Jets are looking for a receiver. His lack of presence on the field the last two seasons along with his bloated salary cap number make him a prime target for release this offseason.
Sanders isn't expected to be re-signed by the Steelers. Both he and Cotchery are free agents, but considering the likely mid level price of Sanders vs. the relatively low price Cotchery would fetch in the open market, Cotchery appears like a solid bet to return, while the Steelers hope someone overpays Sanders, increasing the level of compensatory pick they'll receive in 2015.