2014 NFL Free Agency: WR Jerricho Cotchery is a below-the-radar option

Justin K. Aller

Stampede Blue's free agency series discusses potential players the Indianapolis Colts should target when the new league year begins March 11th.

Jerricho Cotchery

Wide Receiver

6'1, 200 lbs

If I asked you who led the Pittsburgh Steelers in touchdown passes receptions (derp!) in 2013, your most likely answer would be Antonio Brown, who led the Steelers in receptions. However, the correct answer slot receiver Jerricho Cotchery, who had a career-high 10 touchdowns and caught 46 passes in what was, by far, his best season in Steeltown since he signed with there in 2011.

Cotchery was one of the most underrated players in the entire league last year, and, no, I don't think that's an exaggeration. His double-digit touchdowns are the obvious stat to point to, putting him in the same area as guys like Wes Welker (10) and Marvin Jones (10). Cotchery only had 3 drops all season and earned a catch percentage of 62%, per Pro Football Focus. His efficiency as a slot receiver helped the Steelers rank 12th in the league in passing despite a pretty inept running game, which was ranked 27th.

Cotchery's consistency and his work ethic really paid off in Pittsburgh last season. Even though Cotchery himself is entering his 12th season - and, as a result, doesn't really fit the need of a player who could "replace" Reggie Wayne - his steadiness is exactly what the Colts need. Also, because of his age, he's unlikely to demand a large contract. Unlike other free agent options, like Cotchery's teammate in Emmanuel Sanders, he is a good under-the-radar player (in terms of money and overall ability) who would provide leadership and production from Day One. His skills set would allow offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to utilize Wayne and T.Y. Hilton at multiple spots, both on the onside and in the slot.

He would also prove a valued mentor to young receivers like LaVon Brazill and Da'Rick Rogers. Like them, Cotchery has had to fight, kick, and scratch for every opportunity given to him since he was drafted in the 4th round out of North Carolina State.

In Pittsburgh's Week 9 loss to the New England Patriots last year, which ended up being a shootout in many respects, Cotchery had 7 catches for 96 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Cotchery was also the No. 2 ranked blocking wideout in 2013 by PFF. For a Colts team looking to run the ball more, that's an added bonus.

Other articles:

WR Golden Tate would be a good fit for the Colts

WR Hakeem Nicks might not demand big money

WR Emmanuel Sanders is a player the Colts should target

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