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.