Steelers Have Now Lost 113 Receptions For 1,342 Yards And 16 Touchdowns During Free Agency

Veteran free agent wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery is now a former member of the Pittsburgh Steelers after coming to terms with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.

Now that we know that Cotchery won’t be back in 2014, the Steelers have lost two wide receivers from last season during free agency that combined, caught 113 passes for 1,342 yards and 16 touchdowns, and that’s going to be tough to replace.

Currently, the Steelers are left with Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton as their starters for next season. Wheaton, who missed several games during his rookie season due to a finger injury, played all of 161 snaps on offense in 2013 and finished the season with six catches for 64 yards and no touchdowns.

Moving forward, the Steelers will more than likely sign an experienced free agent wide receiver or two between now and the start of training camp. They’ve already brought former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore in for a visit and a few more free agents will likely be flying to Pittsburgh soon.

Even had the Steelers been able to re-sign Cotchery, they were still going to have to address the wide receiver position in the 2014 NFL Draft. Now that he’s not coming back, they must hit with their selection.

In addition to losing what Cotchery brought to the field, the Steelers have also now lost one of their leaders in the locker room as well. Just like his 10 touchdowns from last season, that too will also be tough to replace.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steeltown

    Im going to miss Cotchery

    No doubt Carolina made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, which we all knew was coming. They literally have no one, I think Toney Clemons, yes that Toney Clemons with his 3 career receptions, would technically be a starter for them if the season started today.

  • PA2AK

    i hear you. funny to see the heartbreak on the first article. ‘We’re really down the tubes now!…We’re going to really miss Cotch’s 10 TDs!!’

    haha…anyone that thinks he would have 10 tds playing for pittsburgh next season is crazy!

    Did like having him around, but can’t hang the team on a #3 or #4 WR

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    If only we could draft a WR who caught 15 TD’s and 1011 yards last year and won a national championship…

  • Fritz Baughman

    So let me get this straight: Haley and the offense finally gets rolling, the offensive line improves, Pouncey coming back, we acquire a HOF offensive line coach and we have a stud RB in the making. So now that the offense and running game appear to be showing promise, the Steelers go and take a dump on the passing attack? I know the Steelers aren’t swimming in cash, but are they even trying? Frustrating. Really. We have ZERO depth.

  • Jeff Anoble

    Sidney Rice 6’4″ 200 scheduled for a visit next week according to NFL net. Always when healthy avg 15 yards plus a catch. Monster season in ’09. 83 for 1,312.

    Lance Moore very good season in 2012. 65 for 1,041.

    Santonio Holmes averaged nearly 20 a catch last year with Jets.

    Then there is always a Jordan Mathews, Donte Moncrief, or Martavis Bryant after the first round if we can’t get Evans or prefer a defensive player like Dennard or Gilbert. (My preference).

    Hopefully losing Cotchery really won’t matter if any of the the vets above can have a healthy season plus a rookie produces a litttle.

    Oh by the way. They actually have to sign one of those vets above.

  • dkoy85

    Bummed to see Cotchery go. I liked him as a player, person, and most importantly a mentor.

    He certainly won’t be impossible to replace on the field, but off the field is where I am more concerned. All we can hope is that Ben takes on even more of a leader/mentor role and Brown becomes a veteran presence to Wheaton and the young WR we pick up. Not sure how Moore would be in the locker room if we go his route.

    I know a lot of people say we’ve been great at drafting WR’s in the mid to late rounds, and they have, but I think a good chunk of that success was learning behind players like Ward, Randel El, Cotchery, etc.who selflessly taught and pushed the young guys to take over their positions. I don’t think it can be understated enough in helping young guys develop. Brown seems like a true Steeler so I expect he will take on the leader/mentor roll, if he already hasn’t. Who better than an undersized 6th round draft pick to teach what it takes to be the #2 leading receiver in the league?

  • Steelers12328882

    In 2011 we had Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery. Damn! Gonna break out Madden 2012 when I get home lol.

  • PA2AK

    Exactly…after losing a #3WR that was originally projected as a possible #4wr, that also had a career year that doubled his previous best TD production….we need to just sell the franchise. there is no hope now.

  • dkoy85

    I believe the Rice visit was a fake. Unless they received information today about it.

  • Fritz Baughman

    If the Steelers can’t sign Sanders or Cotchery, they sure as shit aren’t signing Rice. I think that’s a BS story,

  • Fritz Baughman

    Yea, that’s EXACTLY what I said. Douche. The point is that we have no freakin’ depth.

  • dkoy85

    Don’t worry he’s the #3 who would more than likely be the #4 this year. Take a breath- step away from the FA monitoring for a month and enjoy what spring has to offer. Overreacting is bad for the soul.

  • Steelers12328882

    Spring? Where?

  • PA2AK

    I think people also need to bring the 2013 Cotchery production back to reality. For starters, his best season saw 6TDs. His career average is somewhere around 2TDs. We started the year without Heath Miller and the #2 TE, with …Paulson…as the #1. This coming year we have AB (clearly a dominant WR), Wheaton (nothing more than potential…but a good bet that he will produce), Moye, Justin Brown, a draft pick, and likely a veteran that will be signed eventually. Oh, and I forgot, we have an OL that is vastly more capable than last year just in terms of playing time alone. And we have an actual RB…not a line up of scrubs in Redman, Jones, LSH. Yes there are holes, and it isn’t ideal, but let’s quit the ‘sky is falling’ crying that seems to be going on.

  • dkoy85

    My bad! I read somewhere spring was pushed back to mid July… :-D

  • PA2AK

    well obviously that’s not why i said it, but i think you’re overreacting just a little. We’re talking about (well just read what dkoy said above). And the name-calling is tough to handle…

  • Fritz Baughman

    The #4? Who do you have above him at #3?

  • dkoy85

    Kelvin Benjamin :-D

  • PA2AK

    Or anyone that can run faster than the TE’s.

  • dkoy85

    Damn you Dave for baiting us into such a discussion!

  • PA2AK

    Well said.

  • steeltown

    Well, I think we can all safely say we knew Sanders was leaving via FA, the Cotchery situation was a curveball, but there’s no way we offered him as much as CAR did after purging their entire WR depth chart. It sucks but it happens

  • steeler 4 life

    kelvin Benjamin is to much like mike wallace

  • stairman

    While I’m sure J Co made a tough, right decision, im not sure the steelers did. I hope we dont pay for it in the redzone.

  • steeler 4 life

    if you can get a healthy Sidney rice its a up grade

  • richheddleson

    We lost a lot of yards and TD’s when Mike Wallace and Mendenhall left too…….we didn’t miss them and we won’t miss Sanders & Cotchery. Some WR will catch Ben’s passes this year. Doe’s it really matter who it is?

  • steeler 4 life

    you are right

  • stairman

    right there is the problem. He should be considered the #2 wr, if and when he is surpassed by a younger wr. Nobody has proven anything yet, but Cotch.

  • Sven_Hunkstrom

    Losing Cotchery isn’t going to be the difference between the Super Bowl and another 8-8 season. It is, though, yet another illustration of a cap mess resulting from several years of blatant mismanagement, in that the team is unable to afford to keep an affordable player they obviously liked.

    The Steelers certainly have not gotten better this offseason. For those hoping the draft is the answer, I’d refer to the fact that few teams in the league get less from their rookie classes than do the Steelers, and that’s even when the players turn out to be good. This is one of the worst rosters in the NFL–though the presence of a Hall of Fame quarterback helps mask it–and the cap woes mean they can’t buy their way out of it.

  • dkoy85

    Disagree. Benjamin has tons of potential. Mayock said he ran great routes during his pro day. Just because you’re big doesn’t guarantee success- you still have to be nimble enough and Benjamin is nimble enough.

  • Babybull

    Is it me are does it seem like Colbert in front of camera more than tomlin I’m watching combine hes on mic answering questions but every other teams head coach is now he at Nortedame holding stopwatch he should be in Pitt trying to get some free agents right now we have worst roster in afc north if I was Ben I would try to get traded because their doing nothing to help him I wish we could trade colbert

  • Babybull

    How do you no Weaton hasn’t done anything an the way we been drafting lately scares me JJ has to show me more

  • steeltown

    It is funny though, the sky is falling again in Pittsburgh because Cotchery made a conscience decision to sign with Carolina

  • AndyR34

    Does such a thing exist?

  • Babybull

    If Benjamin was that great why would they want to move back in draft to get him he’s a project which JC could have helped him learn

  • PA2AK

    yes and no. the only thing Cotchery has proven is he is fairly consistent at 2 TDs a season (prior to 2013) for his career. One year doesn’t ‘prove’ much in terms of production. What he has proved is his character will be missed and that is all we can legitimately count on.

  • dkoy85

    Oh God another one. Only time they come out is when they can b!tch.

  • 804Stiller

    Just saw 89’s deal was 5mil for 2 years. Unless, we have another signing eminent, that doesn’t seem too bad. And, we could restructure 94 for flexibility. End of the day, I get it but 89 will be missed. Best of luck 89 outside playing the Stillers.

  • dkoy85

    He’s a project yes, but he’ll contribute year 1 and with the lack of depth he’ll be thrust in more than normal. Every other WR in the draft not named Watkins is going to take some time to learn. Oh and by the way they’d be moving back for a FIRST ROUND talent- so yeah, Benjamin is a good receiver.

  • sean mcmartin

    So one unproven rookie and one great WR left. losing sanders was ok, now cotch. Anyone who thinks this is a good stable of WR’s is wearing the blinders and drinking the koolaid..

  • dkoy85

    Sooo you’re saying last years draft class scares you? Sure, Jones has to prove more and I think he was towards the end of the season… he just needs to get stronger and I can guarantee you he is working on that right now. Le’Veon Bell 2nd round? Wheaton 3rd? Shark 4th? Vince Williams 6th? I’m pretty happy with the potential there. What else can you hope for and go off of for Steelers rookies? They all showed potential as rookies.

    I watched Wheaton in person in camp(yes I know it’s not the same as a regular season game) and I focused on him a lot- he was ALWAYS open and that is not an exaggeration. He is going to be good, he just needs to be healthy.

  • Babybull

    Hope everybody don’t get caught up in size he’s close to 240 couple more pounds he will be a TE.with are rec corp right now we don’t haft to worry about redzone we won’t move ball. Haley finally gets off going an they let his recs walk what a joke of a FO I love my steelers but we were a better team last year an that’s not saying a lot

  • Babybull

    So was every rec against are DBS that not saying much I need to see it against othe teams plus VW is ok but if he was that good they wouldn’t be talking about a LB in first RD

  • Babybull

    Man I love Pitt to but let be real right now we might be worst team in north least Cleveland’s getting better in FA

  • PA2AK

    oh my…you take the cake man.

  • Rob Dove

    This years draft has lots of depth at wide out and some decent tight ends. We maybe picking corner wr, te, wr, this year but who knows. We are close enough that a really great left tackle could be available and that would just be something you don’t pass on. We have Brown and Heath and the two kids from last year so we maybe ok.

  • Matt Manzo

    I agree that we’ve had too many bad picks recently.
    But I don’t wanna buy our way out of it. I’m excited to see if Tomlin can rebuild! We’ve been asking for change and it looks like this is it. I’m surprised we lost Cotch and Woods but I don think the FO is surprised. I think they either believe there’s guys on the roster who can step up or they’ll find em in the draft and/or free agency.
    I just hope they know what their doin!

  • AndyR34

    You are right…we didn’t miss them…we were still 8-8.

  • Moneypenny76

    Cotchery got 2 years for $5 million. So Pittsburgh refused to pay him $2.5 million per year, yet gave Ike Taylor, who was a liability last year, $2.75 million.

    Sorry, that gives me no faith in the front office. Their priorities are screwed up. Ben is a great QB, but he needs to have somebody to actually throw the ball to. AB can’t be the only proven receiver out there.

  • Ike Evans

    2 receivers ….I wanted cotch back tho oh well….

  • Ike Evans

    Um….idk if you noticed or not but just about the only position we almost always hit on is WR………tho you’re right this isn’t a good stable…I like Wheaton tho but 2 is not enough

  • alex

    its about production and leadership…

    we certainly know who our #1 WR / #1 RB / #1 TE are, but after that, dont hold your breath…if any of these guys goes down, then what?! zero production and little player leadership to step in…

  • Daniel Dixon

    Brandon Coleman