The New York Jets need to decide what Eric Decker’s future is with their club.
What should the New York Jets do regarding wide receiver Eric Decker? This is not an easy scenario to figure out. With the 2017 NFL Draft quickly approaching, should Gang Green try and trade Decker and collect another draft pick as they rebuild their roster? Should they release the seven-year veteran and save money on their salary cap?
Or should they keep Decker, who is very productive when healthy, but is coming off rotator cuff and hip surgery? It is an interesting dilemma indeed.
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Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the bottom line regarding the University of Minnesota product.
The Good: Decker is just one season removed from an excellent NFL campaign — 80 receptions for 1,032 yards and 12 touchdowns in 15 games for New York in 2015. Before he got injured in the fourth game of last year, Decker was averaging 21.3 yards per catch with a pair of touchdowns, very solid numbers.
When healthy, Decker is a bonafide No. 2 receiver in the NFL. He has recorded three seasons with 80 or more catches and three other campaigns with 11 or more touchdown receptions. While no spring chicken anymore, Decker just turned 30 years old and many receivers in the league remain productive in their early to mid 30s.
The Bad: The Cold Spring, MN native is recovering from two major surgeries so how effective will he be going forward? The Jets are hoping he’ll be ready to play by training camp but there is no guarantee that he will. If he does return, will he be the same productive player?
Gang Green is in full rebuilding mode, so a veteran like Decker might not be happy playing for a team that will be fortunate to win five or six games this year. His base salary for the upcoming season is $7.25 million, which is high for a player with so many injury concerns. He is also signed for 2018 at $7.5 million, so the Jets have made a strong financial commitment to Decker.
The bottom line: The Jets need to move on from Decker if they can. If they release him, New York would recoup $8.75 million in salary, per 247 Sports. Another option is to hope Decker shows that he is healthy during training camp and then general manager Mike Maccagnan can try and trade him for a mid-round draft pick in 2018.
Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa showed promise last season and can slot in as New York’s number one WR on a rebuilding squad. Maccagnan should draft a receiver or two in this month’s draft — the Jets need to retool with youth and upside.
Decker has been very productive during his three-year tenure in New York, but it’s time to move on for both sides. While there is no questioning his talent, there are too many health concerns for this marriage to work any longer.