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Free Agency market still developing for Jerricho Cotchery

This year's group of free agent receivers isn't quite as illustrious as the past, but with the top names likely to be off the market by the end of Friday, Cotchery's name should start to circulate.

Justin K. Aller

The market for wide receivers in this year's free agency class doesn't have a headliner the way it did the last two years with Mike Wallace and Vincent Jackson. It is creeping along with Eric Decker (signed with the Jets) and Golden Tate (Detroit), and eventually, Emmanuel Sanders (visiting Chiefs).

Jerricho Cotchery isn't the player Wallace or Jackson are, and probably can't be put into the realm of the Decker/Tate/Sanders triumverate. But he's a solid receiver who's production as a third receiver is undeniable based on his success in Pittsburgh last year.

It seems, based on past statements from Cotchery, he would like to stay in Pittsburgh, but it's reasonable to think, at 32 years of age, he wants to get at least within a red zone touchdown pass distance of his market value. Pittsburgh has cap room available, and locking Cotchery up to help fill the slot role in its 11 personnel package (with Markus Wheaton at split end) should be considered something of a priority.

Perhaps the floated statement by Post-Gazette reporter Gerry Dulac of the Steelers' intentions to draft a tall wide receiver in the first or second round was a subtle shot at Cotchery in their pending contract negotiations.

Cotchery's market appears to be quiet at the moment, with no reports linking him anywhere outside Pittsburgh. He still should be considered a player the Steelers want to keep, but there's still a risk of his departure. The next round of free agent receivers should be signing soon, so it wouldn't be a surprise to start hearing Cotchery's name surrounding a few of the openings for slot receivers among NFL teams, including the Steelers.