Quick, name the wide receiver on Pittsburgh’s roster who ranks second in receiving yards (248), third in catches (15), is tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions (two), and has racked up 16.5 yards per catch.
If you said “Jerricho Cotchery,” then you would be correct.
While certain veterans on Pittsburgh’s roster with expiring contracts have underperformed or been more inclined to whore themselves to the media during the team’s 0-4 start *cough*Ryan Clark*cough*, the veteran wide receiver has been a pleasant surprise in Pittsburgh’s passing game during the first quarter of the 2013 campaign.
Although Antonio Brown has shined from a productivity standpoint during his first season as Pittsburgh’s “number one” wide receiver, Cotchery has actually been more productive than the player, Emmanuel Sanders, they passed up a third round pick for in the spring.
Jerricho not only has more touchdown catches than Sanders, he has also snared more catches of 20+ yards (six to four) than the former S.M.U. Mustang, and has also recorded more first down grabs to boot (14 to nine).
Granted, I understand that the Steelers will try to get “younger” over the next few offseasons by letting the contracts of many of their veteran players simply expire. Although Cotchery is a veteran with an expiring contract, his price tag and current play could make him someone worth signing to a low-risk deal next spring.
Sanders will likely command a big-money deal due to his age and his upside, so Pittsburgh’s “cap-strapped” brass will likely let him walk. With the unproven but promising Markus Wheaton, Derek Moye, and Justin Brown as the only projected backups to Antonio Brown next fall (along with a potential 2014 draft pick), Cotchery could find himself back with the Steelers next fall.
In terms of his projected price-tag, take this into account, readers: the last deal Jerricho signed with the team was for $3 million over two years. While I mentioned that the franchise was “cap-strapped,” they could easily hand the soon to be 32 year old a similar deal this March. Heck, if they cut dead weight like Ike Taylor off of their books, they’ll have more than enough room to ink Cotchery and try to extend other younger players on the roster.
Although Cotchery will have to continue his solid play over the next 12 games, I believe that he is making a strong case to stick around in Pittsburgh beyond the 2013 season.
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