It didn’t take long for Eric Decker to find a new home. Just a few days after the New York Jets officially released him, the 30-year-old receiver signed a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans, the team announced Sunday. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Decker first visited with the team on Wednesday and watched practice with general manager Jon Robinson.
The Titans have made it a priority to surround quarterback Marcus Mariota with more talent the past two offseasons. Last year, they added running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry as well as receivers Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe. This offseason, Decker joins draft picks Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor, and Jonnu Smith as new targets for the Titans’ franchise quarterback.
Earlier this month, the Jets made it known they would be parting ways with the veteran receiver via trade or release. They ended up releasing him the next week when a trade couldn’t be worked out. Decker was part of a roster purge the Jets executed this offseason. He was scheduled to earn $7.25 million in 2017 and a pay increase in 2018.
When he found out he was leaving New York, Decker posted a heartfelt goodbye to the team and its fans:
Thank you @nyjets for the opportunity the last 3 years! I truly made some great memories and friendships that will last forever!— Eric Decker (@EricDecker87) June 7, 2017
To all the diehard fans-I wish we would of accomplished more for you but I sincerely appreciate the support through all the ups and downs!— Eric Decker (@EricDecker87) June 7, 2017
Decker is coming off an injury-plagued season in 2016. He only played in three games before the Jets placed him on injured reserve because of a torn rotator cuff. In October, Decker underwent hip surgery and soon after had shoulder surgery as well.
Fortunately for Tennessee, Decker is healthy and has been medically cleared from both surgeries, according to Schefter.
Decker, standing at 6’3, is a big-bodied receiver who can run intermediate routes, use his frame in red zone situations, and win 50-50 throws. When healthy, he can help the offense by making tough catches to move the sticks and keep drives alive.
After spending the first four years of his career with the Denver Broncos, Decker inked a five-year, $36.25 million deal with the Jets in the 2014 offseason. His debut season in the Big Apple was solid, racking up 74 receptions for 962 yards and five touchdowns. Decker followed that up by corralling 80 passes for 1,027 yards and 12 scores in 2015.
In seven years, he amassed 385 receptions, 5,253 receiving yards, and 35 touchdowns. Decker only missed four games in his career before last season, so durability was never an issue with him.
The Titans’ passing game ranked just 25th in yards last season, but Mariota has shown promise in his young career. Decker could be the reliable target that Mariota hasn’t always had. Matthews led the team in receiving last year but was inconsistent. Tennessee also has Delanie Walker, a veteran tight end who was the second-leading receiver last year.
The team’s rookies should all get a chance to contribute right away, too. Davis, a first-round pick from Western Michigan, is a speedy receiver who can stretch the field and run intermediate routes. Davis can play in the slot and on the perimeter. Taylor, the Titans’ third-round pick from Western Kentucky, is a slot receiver with quickness and route-running prowess. Smith, a third-round pick, is a do-it-all tight end. He can line up along the offensive line to deliver bone-crushing blocks, and he is an explosive receiving threat.
SB Nation’s Titans blog, Music City Miracles, thinks this is a high point for the team’s receiving corps:
Rishard Matthews, Eric Decker, Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor would easily be the best combination of receivers that the Titans have ever had.
Decker can be a playmaker for the Titans and a veteran presence for the younger players. He is only 30 years old and was one of the better receivers in the league before he went down with injuries. If Decker can bounce back in a big way in 2017, then the Titans just signed a talented receiver without breaking their bank.