The New York Jets have informed wide receiver Eric Decker that they will trade or release him this week, prompting immediate speculation about where the pass catcher will be seeking his third contract.
Drafted to the Denver Broncos in 2010, Decker has been a very productive player since then, posting over 5,000 yards and 52 touchdowns in his time in both Denver and New York. There is no doubt that the receiver needy Baltimore Ravens will have Decker on a short list to help them solve their problem at the position, which begs the question, what kind of deal will Decker be seeking?
It’s a tougher question regarding Decker than it would be for a veteran who is more clearly over the hill. While a serious shoulder injury kept him out of most of the action in 2016, Decker’s last full season was a big one, seeing him post 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns in a Chan Gailey offense that had Ryan Fitzpatrick at the controls.
When Decker went down last season, it was believed to be a pretty serious affliction, and that bore itself out as Decker missed the entire year, and is now being informed that the team will be parting ways with him. These last two pieces of information are what makes negotations with a player like Decker so complicated. On the one hand a team may regret inking him to any serious money on account of his injury, but the other comes with the fear that missing out on him could mean missing out on production seen in Decker’s 2015 efforts.
The reality of the situation is that for whoever signs Decker (hopefully Baltimore) will likely need to accept that both parties could benefit from a prove-it type contract. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a one year contract, as the Ravens proved with Mike Wallace’s two year deal that included an option to separate the seasons.
After Wallace posted over 1,000 yards and the Ravens picked up that option, it is fair to say that Wallace’s rennaissance effort was properly rewarded. With the current situation that he is in, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Decker use Wallace as a benchmark, and the Ravens are a good landing spot for that very reason.
Here’s hoping that Decker comes to that conclusion this week.