Jerricho Cotchery Is Back With The Carolina Panthers

Jerricho Cotchery is back to assist with new Panthers wide receivers coach Lance Taylor on Carolina's coaching staff as reported by Black and Blue Review.

“Here’s a guy very familiar with our guys, a guy that was the quiet leader in that group," said Rivera.

Nobody really took over that leadership role for the Panthers receivers in 2016, and it showed. Ginn was the veteran of the group, but has never really had that trait. Carolina's slot receiver position as a whole diminished without Cotchery in 2016 as well.

With Philly Brown and Brenton Bersin both set to be free agents this off season, Panthers brought in Victor Cruz for a visit last month. Carolina could opt to let both go if they can reach a deal with Cruz, or keep one and let the other go. It would likely be Bersin walking as Philly Brown accounted for 27 of the 30 receptions in the slot last season. Panthers also liked rookie Damiere Byrd and may choose to try and implement more of him.

It will be interesting to see how things develop with Cruz going forward. In a radio interview last month after the visit, Cruz said the visit "went well." Having two veterans such as Cotchery and Cruz would be great additions to the locker room and on the field for the younger corps of guys.

Follow @TrippMorgan6 and Cat_Chronicles for news and updates on the Carolina Panthers.

Article thumbnail photo Jesse Fraetis photography.

Written by Tripp Morgan

Victor Cruz Visit With Carolina Panthers, 'Went Well.'

As many expected, the Carolina Panthers brought in free agent wide receiver Victor Cruz for a visit on Monday. 

General Manager Dave Gettleman was with the Giants in 2010 when they brought Cruz in undrafted and he shot to stardom. Gettleman bringing Cruz in to visit says that Gettleman both likes Cruz as a player, on and off the field, and that the Panthers front office wants to address the wide receiver position. 

Cruz said in a phone conversation that the visit, "Went well" according to Art Stapleton of The Record.

Cruz was released a week ago in a move to free $7 million of cap space with players like Odell Beckham Jr. becoming house hold names and rookie Sterling Shepard impressing in his rokie season.

Cruz, 30, recorded 39 catches for 586 yards and one touchdown in his first season back after being sidelined with injuries the previous two seasons. Cruz would immediately bring a much needed veteran presence that was lost when Jerricho Cotchery left. For comparison, Cotchery had 39 catches for 485 yards and three touchdowns with the Panthers in 2015. 

The slot receiver position struggled last season and Cruz could be a viable option and more importantly, cost effective. It seems the interest is mutual on both sides. 

Follow @TrippMorgan6 and @Cat_Chronicles on Twitter for the latest news and updates following this story and others with the Carolina Panthers.

Thumbnail photo by Jesse Fraetis photography.




Journey of Jerricho Cotchery

Plenty of questions have been brewing around what the Carolina Panthers were/are going to do at wide receiver. Letting the likes of Steve Smith, Brandon Lafell, Ted Ginn, and Domenik Hixson leave for other teams. Those 4 were the top 4 receivers for Cam Newton last year. So who is Cam going to target this year out wide? Signing Tiquan Underwood and Jason Avant is a good start, and first round pick Kelvin Benjamin is expected to evolve as the go-to-guy.

Let me introduce you to Jerricho Cotchery. A home grown product, he played his college ball with all-pro quarterback Philip Rivers at North Carolina State. Drafted in 2004, as a 4th round pick by the Jets, Cotchery didn’t see much action until 2006. After injuries and discipline problems in the Jets receiving core, Cotchery emerged as the 2nd target to Chad Pennington. With 82 catches in the 06’ and 07’ season, his stock was rising. Change of quarterbacks and injuries led to a decline in production and thus leading to his release in 2011.

Cotchery signed with the Steelers in 2011 and spent most of his time on the bottom of the depth chart. After just 33 combined catches in his first 2 years, Cotchery had an excellent 2013 campaign. As the 3rd receiver for the Steelers, Cotchery had 46 receptions. The “excellent” part of this season is the touchdowns. Cotchery had more touchdown receptions than Desean Jackson, Antonio Brown, Josh Gordon, Anquan Boldin, Alshon Jeffery, and Vincent Jackson. Gordon and Brown were named to all-pro 1st and 2nd teams respectively. 10 touchdowns on 46 receptions are efficient. The 2nd lowest amount of receptions amongst the group mentioned is 78 by Vincent Jackson. I think I can speak for Panther fans everywhere when I say, welcome home Jerricho.

By: James Woodham

James is an aspiring sports writer and journalism major at UNCC. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dylan_Woodham or check out his NBA focused blog at

Who Do the Carolina Panthers Have in Jerricho Cotchery?

Who Do the Carolina Panthers Have?

Part 1: Jerricho Cotchery
Much to do has been made of who the Panthers lost this offseason.  The exodus of Panther staples, such as Steve Smith, Jordan Gross, and Captain Munnerlyn has left fans uncertain. The uncertainty of the unknown has caused fans to flail for something to help them get their bearings, particularly on the offensive side of the roster. 

This is part one of a series meant to explore Carolina’s unknown, well less known anyway.  The series will first focus on the Panthers’ unknown receiver core because that has been the greatest cause of fan angst. Followed by an analysis of offensive additions, we’ll look at new, but more familiar, defensive players, such as Roman Harper, Antoine Casson, and Thomas Decoud. Fans need to know who we have to understand what we need.  The series will conclude with a who we added group of articles, producing the final product of: 

Who the Panthers have, who did they add, and what do they got? Let’s look at some of those mysterious wide receivers first!

Jerricho Cotchery: Panther fans, welcome back a familiar star! The
“Backyard Baller” and NC State college standout shined alongside Phillip Rivers between 2000 and 2003.  Amassing 200 catches for a whopping 3,119 yds, Cotchery ranks 2nd all-time in Wolfpack history only to Tory Holt. 

Year Tm Pos Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng Y/G
2006 NYJ WR 82 961 11.7 6 71 60.1
2007 NYJ WR 82 1130 13.8 2 50 75.3
2008 NYJ WR 71 858 12.1 5 56 53.6

Cotchery’s senior season was insane, seven 110+ yd games and one 200+ yd game.  Look at these crazy stats, and it’s a wonder why we should even have to feature Cotchery in this series. 

Rk Date School Opponent Rec Yds Avg TD
1 2003-08-30 North Carolina State Western Carolina W 5 62 12.4 1
2 2003-09-06 North Carolina State Wake Forest L 9 173 19.2 1
3 2003-09-13 North Carolina State Ohio State L 4 44 11.0 2
4 2003-09-20 North Carolina State Texas Tech W 3 56 18.7 0
5 2003-09-27 North Carolina State North Carolina W 9 217 24.1 1
6 2003-10-04 North Carolina State Georgia Tech L 5 71 14.2 1
7 2003-10-11 North Carolina State Connecticut W 4 55 13.8 0
8 2003-10-16 North Carolina State Clemson W 2 55 27.5 0
9 2003-10-25 North Carolina State Duke W 9 117 13.0 0
10 2003-11-01 North Carolina State Virginia W 7 111 15.9 1
11 2003-11-15 North Carolina State Florida State L 10 135 13.5 2
12 2003-11-22 North Carolina State Maryland L 6 102 17.0 0
13 2003-12-22 North Carolina State Kansas W 13 171 13.2 1
13 Games 86 1369 15.9 10

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 5/3/2014.

Drafted by the NY Jets in 2004, Cotchery wore green and white with multiple QBs for multiple coaches. Breaking out in 2007 with 1,130 yds and 2 TDs under an intricate Mangini offense scheme, Cotchery became the featured receiver in NY.  Although he didn’t find the end-zone too often, Cotchery hauled in 82 catches, proving himself a integral part of Mangini’s modest success. The late season collapse of 2008 was enough to push out Mangini, who finished 9-7 after leading the division early.

As the “Rex Ryan Sanchez” era commenced, Cotchery’s production declined.  Battlingly through a serious groin injury and a difficult off-season back surgery, Cotchery fell out of favor with the new regime in 09.  The groin injury was no joke by the way.  He reportedly heard it snap of this wildly awesome play.  This video alone will make happy to see this guy sporting the black and blue.  

Always known as a character guy and locker room favorite, Cotchery’s departure wasn’t as cordial as one would think.  Although there isn’t any direct evidence, numerous veiled comments suggest Cotchery and Ryan didn’t see entirely eye-to-eye. Ryan’s early coaching success triggered a confidence and flamboyance remembered with his press conferences clowning his brother, embracing the spotlight of HBO’s Hard Knock, and we can’t forget that he loves feet! 

Cotchery obviously wasn’t enamored by Ryan’s personality nor his description of his rise to power at expense of ex-coach Mangini in his autobiography, Play Like You Mean It. Cotcherydefended Mangini against Mangini against Ryan’s light jabs. Meanwhile, the Jets continually attempted to “recruit over” Cotchery by bringing in guys like ex-con Plaxico Burress and the ornery Derrick Mason.

By 2011, Cotchery had enough and requested to be traded or released.  The parting wasn’t ugly, but there was some underlying animosity, at the very minimum the relationship had become stale.

The Pittsburgh Renaissance:

Landing in Pittsburgh for the league minimum, Cotchery found himself taking a backseat to the peaking Mike Wallace, Antonio Bryant, and Emmanuel Sanders.  The departure of Wallace in 2012 and rocky 2013 start tested the Steeler’s offense, which started out 2-6 last season.  Jerricho Cotchery’s veteran experience helped, however, Pittsburgh fight tooth and nail to save that prided Steeler dignity. Although the Steelers are aging on defense, their offensive playmakers are still pretty young.  0-4 start seemed to have shaken these players, but it didn't shake the “Walls of Jerricho,” who reigned in 89 balls for 689 yards and 10 TDs last year. 

What we got:

Cotchery has been a quiet presence in the NFL. He was the quiet, productive guy that wasn't ever a star, but never fully appreciated either.  Cotchery's best opportunity to impose himself as a #1 receiver came in a time when the Jets' offense struggled to find an identity. When the Jets did finally found success under Rex Ryan, the offense was never the primary reason driver.  It was a tough nailed defense that backed a ground and pound offense.  What should have been his best years were undermined by inconsistent quarterback play and playing for teams that never manufactured consistent offensive production.  In some ways, there are a lot of similarities to former Panther Steve Smith's years in Carolina between 2008 and 20011.  The teams they played hampered their on field production more than their ability. I mean if Smith had been a Colt in between '08 and '11, he'd be a first ballot Hall of Famer for sure.

There are two things that make me happy about this pick-up: 1)  my man Cotchery has hands.  He catches everything in the same zip code.  2) the luckiest person I have ever known (who will remain anonymous), always picked Cotchery as a third receiving option on his fantasy football team.  The quiet producer helped him win a fantasy football championship or two!!! 

Cotchery never really had the best opportunity to assert himself as a #1 receiver.  He looks to have found his shot in Carolina, however, where there aren't any established receivers ahead of him in the depth chart.  Even if the Panthers grab a receiver in the first round, it's unlikely this player would assert himself as a leader among the receiving core.  The addition would need to transition from a #2 option to a #1 option throughout the year.  Cotchery will have a chance during this time to step into that leadership role.  Let' just hope he can continue the renaissance that he started in Pittsburgh last year in the Queen city.