Cotchery will visit wide-receiver-needy Carolina on Monday according to league sources.
Carolina recently released veteran Steve Smith (who signed with Baltimore) and lost Brandon LaFell to the Patriots, Ted Ginn to the Cardinals and Domenik Hixon to the Bears via free agency. One of the most experienced receivers left on the roster is Valley graduate Toney Clemons, who has three career catches. Clemons was drafted by the Steelers in 2012.
Cotchery went to college at nearby North Carolina State.
Two others teams besides the Steelers and Panthers have shown interest in the 31-year-old Cotchery, who had a career high 10 touchdowns last year for the Steelers.
The Steelers have had preliminary talks with Cotchery, but no deal is imminent. Cotchery did say he wanted to return to the Steelers after the season, but could make a decent salary if he signs with the Panthers.
The Steelers are also low on experienced receivers as they lost Emmanuel Sanders to Denver on Sunday. It was the second consecutive year the Steelers lost a receiver to free agency — Mike Wallace signed with the Dolphins last year. Behind Antonio Brown, Steelers’ receivers have eight career receptions – six by Markus Wheaton and two by Derek Moye.
According to numbers released by the NFLPA, the Steelers have approximately $3.5 million cap space, which would be plenty to lock up Cotchery.