Among all of the rumors and controversy that have been surrounding the Carolina Panthers this offseason, they have finally landed a wide receiver. As of yesterday, former Steelers wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery has agreed to a two-year deal with the Panthers. This move is essential to the Panthers organization, which has needed to add a receiver to the roster since the departure of Steve Smith.
The NFL Draft, which is very deep in terms of wide receiver talent, looms in the not so distant future and should bring in a talented wideout for Carolina. However, the Panthers can’t afford to put their entire 2014 receiving corps on the shoulders of a rookie. Experience is very important in sports, and the 31-year-old Cotchery brings a good amount of it to the team. Now when the Panthers do inevitably take a receiver in the first round, that rookie will have a mentor to help guide him in 2014.
While there are many positives to this signing, there are also things that Carolina should be wary about. Cotchery is coming off a middle of the road year, and he’s not getting any younger. He recorded a mere 602 yards in the 2013 season (not too impressive), but he did pull in ten touchdowns. His touchdown potential is very important to the Panthers and will give Cam Newton a short yardage target who can convert points.
However, this signing, while beneficial, is not a saving grace. Cotchery is not a deep threat or long yardage receiver at his current age. The Panthers are still going to have to pull in a deep threat who can use quick speed to race downfield and convert long yardage situations. Still, the Panthers desperately needed a veteran receiver to complement their rookie pick as well as add a threat to the weak offense. Cotchery serves as that for Carolina and will be a welcome complement to whoever they take in the draft.