Free Agent Fallout: Why Eric Decker Will Likely Disappoint In New York

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Jets desperately needed help with their receiving corps, so it makes sense that they targeted one of the top receivers available in free agency.  Is he a true top receiver?  That’s definitely not a given, as you have to wonder if he was more of a Peyton Manning product as opposed to anything else.

Over the past two seasons he’s posted at least 85 receptions, 1,064 yards an 11 TD a year, but that was with countless other weapons taking away the attention of defenses and the elite QB in the league throwing him the football.  How are the numbers going to react based on the downgrade under center?

I know some people are going to point to the 8 TD he had in 2011, when Tim Tebow was controlling the Broncos’ offense, but that’s not a number to hang our hats on.  He had just 44 receptions for 612 yards and touchdowns can be a bit of a fluky statistics (though Decker was always considered a red zone threat, so he does have that going for him).  While Geno Smith is not Tebow, he also is hardly one of the elite in the game.

There have always been concerns that Decker is a better fit as a number two receiver, as opposed to being someone who can carry the load.  Here’s part of the scouting report from Walter Football (click here for the full report) that they gave prior to the 2010 NFL Draft:

“Decker is the prototypical possession, No. 2 receiver in the NFL. Teams will know exactly what they will get with Decker because he will work hard on and off the field. He will never be a stat monster in the NFL, but he will draw away double teams and he is a major threat in the red zone to score with his size, body control and hands.”

Despite the numbers, Decker still has the feel of a player more suited to be a second fiddle as opposed to a leading man.  That’s how he thrived in Denver (behind Demaryius Thomas and others), but that’s just not going to be the case in New York.  Of course they still have the potential to make other moves, but you know Jets’ fans are going to be expecting gaudy numbers.  Thus far he’s the team’s “big move” via free agency and the hope is that he fills their biggest need.  The truth is that he really doesn’t.  He’s an improvement from what they had, but also not quite what they coveted.

Decker will likely be miscast as a top receiver, and fantasy owners shouldn’t make the mistake of pushing him too high up their draft board.  Barring another move, Decker will likely post a disappointing overall line in 2014.  Maybe he’ll score enough TD to offset that, but it’s hard to depend on that.

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