It’s been a busy week at the South Side. It began with Kevin Colbert and Omar Khan dipping their quills to sign Leonard Pope and having done that, they liked it so much they started a streak which included inking Doug Legursky and Trai Essex.
The biggest move of course was the resigning of veteran reserve receiver Jerricho Cotchery. Cotchery was an unrestricted free agent who signed with the Steelers in the summer of 2011 and tested the waters.
He apparently drew some interest from the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams. But the money and/or the opportunities were not there for Cotchery.
The move came on the same day that news leaked that restricted free agent Mike Wallace will not sign his tender from the Steelers, and either to force the Steelers to seek a trade a trade prior to the 2012 NFL draft or simply as a move to pressure the Steelers into offering him a long term deal.
Steel Curtain Rising will have more to say on the Wallace situation when/if he declines to sign the Steelers offer. However, with Cotchery’s future with the team secured for the next two years, the Steelers gain some insurance should Wallace attempt to play hard ball.
Perhaps more importantly, Jerrico Cotchery fills the void created by Hines Ward’s retirement for a veteran presence in the Young Money receiving corps.
David Johnson Comes Around
One player with no illusions about playing hard ball is tight end David Johnson. The Steelers selected Johnson in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft and since that time have seen him develop into a capable players as an H-back or hybrid tight-end/fullback.
As a restricted free agent, Johnson could have signed with another team, and that team only would have had to have given up a 7th round pick in return.
Johnson perhaps harbored hopes of finding greener pastures, but after the Steelers signed back up tight end Leonard Pope, Johnson quickly signed his restricted free agent tender.
It is unknown whether that tender is guaranteed or if the Steelers can cut him in training can and have to honor the tender.
If the restricted free agent tender is guaranteed, that spells more bad news for Wesley Saunders, because the Steelers will have three tight ends under contract who’re all but certain to make the team and the squad has never carried 4 tight ends.
Thanks for visiting. Click here for the rest of Steel Curtain Rising or here to see our Steelers 2012 Free Agent Focus.