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Could Jerricho Reunite With Philip In San Diego?

August 2, 2011

As the dust begins to settle following the end of the NFL lockout and the subsequent free agent scramble, there's word out of New York that Jerricho Cotchery might be potential trade bait from the Jets.

While Jerricho has been an extremely reliable weapon for the Jets since his arrival, the hard truth is that the Jets' signing of Plaxico Burress to a one-year deal and the re-upping of Santonio Holmes to a five-year deal pushes J-Co down the depth chart. Add in the fact he's currently on the physically-unable-to-perform list recovering from back surgery and it makes sense these rumors are circulating.

If I'm Philip Rivers, at camp out on the West Coast, and I hear these same rumors swirling, I send word to Chargers general manager AJ Smith that I need a word with him at the end of practice to discuss some roster matters.

I've long thought the reuniting of Jerricho with Philip at the pro level would be tremendously beneficial to both parties. Philip's best recieving threat has always been a tight end rather than a wide receiver, all-pro Antonio Gates (who's suffered from injury issues in recent years). Jerricho has always been relegated to a possession receiver role in a Jets offense that doesn't seem to utilize his talents properly.

A reliable #2 receiver with size and speed is something Philip has lacked throughout his career. Adding Jerricho to the mix would take heat off Gates, as well as free up some of the coverage off their #1 receiver, Vincent Jackson.

Certainly, it wouldn't take long to integrate J-Co into the Chargers mix. I've yet to see a quarterback-wide receiver pairing that was as in-sync with one another on the playing field as J-Co and Philip were at State, even moreso than Jamie Barnette was with Torry Holt. 

When they were locked in, big things happened. It's no coincidence that both Philip and Jerricho hold the records for passing yards and receptions at NC State, respectively.

But after nearly a decade spent on opposite coasts, could a reunion happen now?

Whereas the Jets are trying to find room on the roster for Cotchery, the Chargers are suffering from a dearth of wide receiver talent. Vincent Jackson is the #1 threat on the depth chart and just signed a one-year deal as the player the Chargers designated with the franchise tag. Beyond Jackson, however, the quality of receivers on the squad drops off significantly.

Malcom Floyd is the leading receiver at the #2 spot, with Patrick Crayton his backup. Jackson's backup on the opposite side of the field is Legedu Nanee. From there, there's a bunch of young talent trying to make the squad and not much else.

Aside from Jackson, I believe Cotchery  is clearly better than any other receiver currently on the Chargers’ roster. He would be a nice fit at either the #2 or could serve as a possession receiver in a three-wide set, significantly upgrading the weapons at Philip's disposal. 

Is Cotchery's back issue cause for concern for AJ Smith? Perhaps. It would be a tough sell to trade away currently healthy players for those who are currently injured. But there's no indication that Cotchery's surgically repaired back will slow him down in the coming season or delay him being ready come the beginning of the year, so it may be worth bringing in Cotchery at a lower pricetag.

And from an NC State perspective, just imagine the positive press and PR such a move would bring.

Sports writers and network producers are always looking for interesting angles. A star quarterback reuniting with a star receiver almost writes/produces itself, so for the first few weeks of the season, while the news is fresh, we could expect to see clips of Philip and Jerricho from their college days tearing it up in the red-and-white. If the two suddenly started racking up tons of yardage and scores, the chances of these positive PR stories would only increase.

Positive press like that is invaluable to a program like NC State still trying to make a name for itself on the national stage.

So AJ, let's make it happen. Trust me–you won't be sorry.

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