On the Steelers: Former Saints receiver Moore fills recent opening for Steelers

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The Steelers plugged a hole Friday which opened one day earlier when they came to terms on a two-year contract with former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore.

Moore, who paid them a visit earlier this week, will replace Jerricho Cotchery, who left Thursday to sign a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers.

Moore spent his entire eight-year career with the New Orleans Saints after signing with Cleveland as an undrafted rookie in 2005 from Toledo. The Browns cut him, he spent one season on New Orleans' practice squad and then went on to have 346 receptions (fourth in Saints history) for 4,281 yards and 38 touchdowns (fifth in team history) in his career. This Columbus, Ohio, native turns 31 in August.

Moore caught 37 passes for 457 yards in 2013, one year after he had 65 receptions for 1,041 yards.

The Steelers had hoped to keep Cotchery, who caught 46 passes for 602 yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns in 2013 as their No. 3 slot receiver. Moore likely will fill that role in 2014.

"Couldn't ask for a better organization to continue my career with," Moore wrote on Twitter.

Moore (5 feet 9) joins Antonio Brown as the only wide receivers with much experience on a Steelers roster that also lost Emmanuel Sanders as a free agent to the Denver Broncos.

The only other receivers who have caught an NFL pass on the Steelers roster are 2013 rookie Markus Wheaton (six) who was limited because of injuries, and Derek Moye (two).

Halfback to visit

Free agent New England Patriots halfback LeGarrette Blount will visit the Steelers Sunday night and Monday, although coach Mike Tomlin will be in Orlando, Fla., at the NFL meetings and unable to meet with him.

Blount, a big man at 6 feet, 250 pounds, is a power runner who rushed for 772 yards with the Patriots in 2013. He has 2,711 yards in four seasons.

Le'Veon Bell, a 2013 rookie, is the only experienced halfback on their roster.

Palmer agrees to deal

Another of their unrestricted free agents signed when tight end Michael Palmer came to terms. By the middle of 2013, Palmer had moved up on the depth chart past David Paulson, the Steelers' rookie of the year in 2012.

Palmer played in all 16 games and was used mostly as a blocker in 2013 after the Steelers claimed him off waivers Aug. 8 from the Seattle Seahawks. The Atlanta Falcons originally signed him as an undrafted rookie from Clemson in 2010.

The Steelers have all four of their tight ends from last season under contract for 2014 -- Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Palmer and Paulson. David Johnson, on injured reserve last year, signed with San Diego as an unrestricted free agent.

Ed Bouchette: ebouchette@post-gazette.com and Twitter @EdBouchette.

First Published March 21, 2014 4:38 PM

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