The New York Jets have released wide receiver Eric Decker, the team announced on Monday afternoon. Decker was slated to make $7.25 million in 2017 and was due a pay increase for 2018 on top of that, and this move is largely to free up cap space for the Jets.
The initial news that the Jets would be parting ways with Decker came last week, hours after the Jets cut David Harris. Earlier this offseason, the Jets released other vets like Darrelle Revis and Brandon Marshall.
His wife, Jessie James Decker, also let it be known that he would no longer be a Jet.
Now their wide receiver situation is rough, with Devin Smith and Quinton Patton on IR, Jalin Marshall suspended the first four games, and Robby Anderson facing league discipline after an arrest in Miami this offseason. They’re so desperate, they’ve reportedly reached out to former wideout Steve Smith.
It’s a disappointing end to his tenure with the Jets. Decker was good on the field and one of the top red-zone threats in the league. But he dealt with a number of injuries with the Jets. He’s coming off two major surgeries on his hip and shoulder.
Those surgeries will be hard to come back from. Decker will turn 30 in March and has not played a full 16-game season since 2013 with the Denver Broncos. He missed a game in 2014 and 2015 with the Jets, and last season he only saw the field in three games.
Since joining the Jets, Decker has 163 receptions for 2,183 yards and, most importantly, 19 touchdowns. He caught 12 of those touchdowns in the 2015 season, and most figured he would stick with the Jets for years to come. Injuries caught up to him quickly though, and suddenly he’s on the open market looking for a new team.
However, the market should be strong for him. Decker has been productive everywhere he’s gone since breaking out with the Broncos in 2012, and smart money is on more than one team being confident enough that he can remain healthy long enough to earn whatever contract they offer him.
New York’s offense looked good through the first three weeks of last season, and when it lost Decker, the offense struggled. It became predictable under offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, so going forward the Jets will likely need to address the position in some significant way.
For Decker, he’ll have to show teams that he’s healthy or that a 100 percent recovery is in the cards before he signs on with a new team. If he can do that, he should be able to find a job sooner than later.