CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have finally started the process of replenishing their wide receiving corps, signing free agent Jerricho Cotchery to a two-year contract on Thursday.
Financial terms of the deal were not released.
Cotchery has spent 10 seasons in the NFL, the last three with the Pittsburgh Steelers and brings some needed experience to a Carolina team that released Steve Smith in free agency and saw Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon leave via free agency.
Cotchery said it was tough leaving Pittsburgh, where he had developed a good relationship with Ben Roethlisberger and caught a career-high 10 touchdown passes last season.
But the 31-year-old is looking forward to forging a new relationship with budding NFL star Cam Newton, a two-time Pro Bowl selection.
"As a receiver, you look at the quarterback position and if you are going to leave a guy like (Roethlisberger) you better be sure you are going to go play with someone that can play at a high level," Cotchery said. "I think I have that here in Cam Newton. That's what I looked at.
"I'm excited about playing with Cam. Hopefully I can help him and we can develop that same bond I have tried to develop with past quarterbacks, and help make this grow in a special way."
Cotchery isn't concerned that Newton's recent ankle surgery will affect his chemistry with his new quarterback.
Newton is expected to be sidelined four months but should be ready in time for training camp in late July.
"Throwing and catching is just one part of the chemistry factor," Cotchery said. "The most important part is the communication. To see how a guy is thinking when a guy is running a route — being able to process it that way in the film room is a big part, too. We will be able to do a lot of that" before training camp.