Sanders out, Cotchery to visit Panthers

March, 16, 2014
Mar 16
3:55
PM ET
PITTSBURGH -- Emmanuel Sanders’ strange saga is over.

The three-year, $18 million contract that Sanders signed with the Broncos, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson, became official after he passed a physical on Sunday afternoon.

Medical concerns over his feet are why the former Steelers wide receiver didn’t sign a longer deal and, according to NFL.com, some teams were none too happy with the negotiating tactics of his agent, Steve Weinberg.

All in all, however, Sanders made out pretty well, getting a deal that averages $6 million per year and rewards him if he stays healthy. He will also get a chance to put up good numbers while playing with quarterback Peyton Manning in Denver’s pass-happy offense.

The Steelers have more pressing concerns than how Sanders’ situation played out since they have very little in the way of experience behind Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown.

It seemed like a no-brainer that the Steelers would re-sign Jerricho Cotchery, who caught a career-best 10 touchdown passes last season and has said he wants to return to Pittsburgh.

But Cotchery will visit the Panthers on Monday, a source confimed to ESPN.com, and Carolina is desperate for wide receivers.

The Panthers are down three wide receivers as they released franchise icon Steve Smith last week and also lost Ted Ginn Jr. and Brandon LaFell to free agency.

How much the Panthers are willing to pay a wide receiver, who turns 32 in June, remains to be seen. But the fact that Cotchery is visiting another team adds even more uncertainty to the Steelers’ outlook at wide receiver.

The Steelers are just as thin at running back though James Starks is scheduled to visit them on Tuesday, a source confirmed to ESPN.com.

The fourth-year veteran rushed for 493 yards and three touchdowns for Green Bay last season and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. The Steelers would be eyeing Starks to fill the same kind of role he had last season when he backed up rookie Eddie Lacy.

Le’Veon Bell is entrenched as the Steelers’ feature back but they need depth at the position. Jonathan Dwyer, Bell’s primary backup last season, signed with the Cardinals last week.

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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