The Jets released veteran WR Jerricho Cotchery, who has spent all seven of his NFL seasons with the Gang Green. The team announced the move Thursday afternoon.
Cotchery was due to make $1.8 million in base salary in 2011. He had offseason back surgery after suffering a herniated disk.
"For me, I don't know. I don't know how to feel, to be honest," he told The (Newark) Star-Ledger earlier on Thursday. "Like I said, I put in a lot of work for the Jets. Became a starter in '06, started off with special teams with Mike Westhoff in '04, and just tried to handle my business the right way."
The Jets hosted veteran WR Derrick Mason for a visit and are expected to sign him as Cotchery's replacement. Because of his injury, Cotchery said that teams would be reluctant to trade for him, as the Jets reportedly told teams he was available.
"A lot of teams don't know my situation. I don't know how that got out anyway, but a lot of teams don't know my situation, so they don't know if I'm healthy or not," he said. "So how can they trade for someone that they really don't know if I'm healthy or not? When I'm released, teams will be able to see that I am."
In 2010, Cotchery played through injury and had 41 catches for 433 yards and one touchdown. He leaves the Jets with 4,514 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns in 103 career games.
Mason, 37, started 15 games for the Ravens last season, catching 61 passes for 802 yards and seven TDs. He has eight career 1,000-yard receiving seasons. The Ravens cut him last week.
The way we see it
It's a sad end to Cotchery's career in New York, as the Jets' receiving corps will be mostly new faces in 2011, with Santonio Holmes being the longest-tenured at one season. Mason proved last season he still has plenty of skills, but it's too early to tell if he will be an upgrade to Cotchery, assuming the team signs him. This also paves way for fifth-round WR Jeremy Kerley to make an impact early on.