The New York Jets have almost completed the makeover of their receiving corps, which won’t include Jerricho Cotchery or Braylon Edwards this season.
The Jets released Cotchery, who led the National Football League team in catches and receiving yardage from 2007-09. Edwards signed with the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent.
The moves came four days after the Jets signed free-agent receiver Plaxico Burress and a week after New York re-signed wideout Santonio Holmes.
“You hate to see great people leave,” Jets coach Rex Ryan told reporters yesterday when asked about Cotchery’s release. “I wish him well and I’m sure he’s going to have many more years left playing.”
Cotchery had offseason back surgery and started training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
“It was a surprise,” Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez said of Cotchery’s release. “That is somebody that I really look up to, still do. One of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”
Cotchery, 29, was a fourth-round draft pick of the Jets in 2004 and took over as a starter two years later. He had a career-high 1,130 yards receiving in 2007 and was the team’s leading wideout for three straight years.
He was slowed last season by a herniated disk in his back and finished fifth on the team with 41 catches for 433 yards while making five starts.
“I’ve been here a long time, so I’ve seen some things take place where guys don’t get to finish their careers here,” Cotchery told reporters.
Edwards, 28, had 88 receptions for 1,445 yards and 11 touchdowns in his two seasons with the Jets. He was traded by the Cleveland Browns to New York in October 2009.
Edwards signed a one-year contract with San Francisco, the 49ers said yesterday in a news release.
Ryan told reporters he had nothing to report on the Jets’ possible interest in Derrick Mason, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who’s topped 1,000 yards receiving in eight of his 14 seasons with Tennessee and Baltimore.
The 37-year-old Mason had 61 catches for 802 yards and seven touchdowns for Baltimore last season. The Ravens cut him last week.