Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers: Can Lance Moore Replace Jerricho Cotchery's Production?

I’ll admit, I was surprised Jerricho Cotchery left the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not because he had such a great role and he was on a good team, but because – to be blunt – he’s not that good.

I’ve been a fan of Cotchery’s since he was a New York Jet. I love how the guy overcame birth defects and a horrific car accident in his teens. I admire his consistency and toughness in his NFL career. When it’s all said and done though, he isn’t a game changer in this league and never was.

I want to make it clear, I’m not bashing Cotchery, I’m stating facts. Facts say he isn’t anything special.

Before last season, the most touchdowns Cotchery caught was six. He had one year in which he gained over 1,000 yards receiving. Last year was a fluke.

Cotchery is a good No. 3 option, but more of a No. 4. I wanted Cotchery back, but Carolina thinks he’s a No. 2 receiver. Once I heard Carolina – who had lost pretty much every receiver they had from the previous year – was interested, I knew Cotchery was heading elsewhere.

Basically, he had a fluke year and since the Steelers would have had to pay him like a No. 3 receiver, they let him go.

With that out of the way, the Steelers didn’t waste time replacing the veteran when they signed Lance Moore, formerly of the New Orleans Saints. Moore was obviously a reactionary signing, coming off the heels of Cotchery being courted by the Panthers.

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Over his career, Moore has been a very consistent receiver. While not flashy, Moore provided a productive stretch from 2008 to 2012. He totaled 276 catches for 3,512 yards and 34 touchdowns.

Despite this, 2013 was a down year for Moore. He battled injuries and lack of playing time, totaling 33 catches for 484 yards and two touchdowns. With up-and-coming wide receiver Kenny Stills continuing to improve, there was no room for Moore to be a Saint.

Moore is not going to match Cotchery’s production last season, since there isn’t a receiver available that could match that production. As I previously stated, Cotchery’s season was a fluke and he won’t reproduce those numbers in Carolina.

To me, Cotchery is a better receiver at this stage in his career than Moore. Unfortunately, Cotchery is a Panther and we need to move on.

Having said that, the problem with the Moore acquisition is he isn’t a No. 3 receiver anymore. He just hit 3o years old and appears to have lost a step, seemingly declining. I see Moore being a solid No. 4 option that can step in and play average at best.

Moore is nothing spectacular, but he can consistently catch the ball in any situation. He isn’t going to catch many touchdowns and he’s lost some speed; however, if he can catch the ball and still have some ability to get separation, this could be a beneficial signing.

With Moore being signed, it should be assured that the Steelers pick a receiver in the first 3 rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft as Moore does not fill that No. 3 role on the team.

Bottom-line on Moore: I don’t think he can get separation in this league anymore and that worries me. The No. 1 thing that distinguishes a NFL receiver from any other pass catchers is their ability to create separation and get open. Hopefully, Moore proves me wrong. Even so, his ceiling isn’t very high at this stage in his career and his floor is finishing on the injured reserve.

I get the signing, I understand the Steelers needed to act quickly and replace Cotchery. The fact is, the receiver market is lackluster this year. Anyone of value is either too expensive or already signed.

The Moore contract is just a two-year deal and I’m sure it’s probably a veteran-minimum type of contract so he’s a low risk/low reward player. Hopefully I’m wrong and Moore ends up working out and is productive for the Black and Gold.

In all honesty, though, this signing seems like a non-factor in the grand scheme of things.


Agree? Disagree? Whatever the case, I want to hear your opinion. Make your voice heard and comment your thoughts below so we can discuss.

Tags: Jerricho Cotchery Lance Moore NFL Free Agency Pittsburgh Steelers

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