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NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday the Panthers agreed to a contract with veteran pass-catcher Jerricho Cotchery, according to a source informed of the process. The team later announced that Cotchery had signed a two-year contract.
The 31-year-old receiver was choosing between the Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers and chose Carolina, per Rapoport.
Cotchery has 437 career receptions in 10 seasons with the New York Jets and Steelers. That's 434 more catches than the receivers previously under contract with the Panthers. Cotchery led the Steelers in touchdown catches in 2013 with 10.
Carolina cut Steve Smith while losing Ted Ginn to the Arizona Cardinals and Brandon LaFell to the New England Patriots. The Panthers also missed out on free agent Hakeem Nicks, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts, as well as James Jones, who is headed to the Oakland Raiders.
There was much consternation about the state of the Panthers' receivers corps in the Tar Heel State since free agency began.
Cotchery is better suited as a No. 3 receiver at this stage of his career, and general manager Dave Gettleman will still need to upgrade the pass-catching unit via a deep 2014 NFL Draft or perhaps a trade.
Another stumbling block for the Panthers is Cam Newton's recent ankle surgery keeping him out four months. The quarterback won't have a full offseason to work with his new receivers.
Adding Cotchery is a start, but there is still much work to be done before the Panthers' season begins.
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