New York Jets FA Signing Breakdown – Eric Decker

Joe Caporoso with a closer look at New York Jets free agent signing Eric Decker

Our initial thoughts on the New York Jets signing of wide receiver Eric Decker are linked here. However, we wanted to take a closer at his game, which we will do with every new addition the Jets make this offseasonDecker is easily the biggest free agent acquisition since John Idzik has taken over as the team’s GM. What does he bring to the team?

Age: 26 years old.

Size/Speed: 6 foot 3, 217 pounds. 4.54 forty yard dash at 2010 NFL Combine.

Contract: 5 years, 36.25 million dollars, 15 million guaranteed. It is truly tough to argue the Jets didn’t pay fair value for Decker considering his age, size and production. This breakdown of what wide receivers are paid in the NFL should further confirm that.

Career Stats:

  • 2010: 14 games. 6 receptions, 8 targets, 106 yards, 17.7 YPC, 1 touchdown.
  • 2011: 16 games. 44 receptions, 95 targets, 612 yards, 13.9 YPC, 8 touchdowns
  • 2012: 16 games. 85 receptions, 123 targets, 1,064 yards, 12.5 YPC, 13 touchdowns
  • 2013: 16 games. 87 receptions, 137 targets, 1,288 yards, 14.8 YPC, 11 touchdowns

Positives: Decker has improved every year of his career and is entering his prime at 26 years old. He has very good size and has proven himself to be a consistent and productive redzone target. Decker has shown the ability to succeed from all over the formation, including split end, flanker and in the slot. More importantly, he has an excellent distribution of production across the entire route tree. He is a reliable, smooth route runner who fights for the football and has the ability to get behind the secondary. Despite being stuck in the Tebow Option offense, he managed 8 touchdowns in 2011. He runs well after the catch and doesn’t shy away from contact.

Negatives: Decker drops the football more than you would like to see, with PFF charting him at 22 drops over the past two seasons. They seem to come in bunches for him at times, which is somewhat concerning. He has struggled with physical, press man coverage in the past, most notoriously in the Super Bowl when Richard Sherman completely took him out of the game. To be fair, Sherman did that to many very good receivers throughout last year. Decker doesn’t have top end speed and has a skill set that is more reflective of a possession receiver than a deep threat. For the first time in his career Decker will be the primary focus of defensive coordinators in the passing game on a weekly basis.

Overall: Considering what the Jets wide receiver depth chart looked like, Decker’s rate of production and age, this was a strong signing by John Idzik. The Jets did not overpay, as many thought Decker would command 9-10 million dollars per year. Decker is being paid at the same rate as Stevie Johnson, Golden Tate and Marques Colston. He provides Geno Smith a very good all-around NFL receiver, who is in the discussion for being a top 20 player at his position league wide. Depending on their other signings and draft picks, Decker is likely to spend the majority of his time at split end but Marty Mornhinweg will have the ability to move him to the frontside of the formation and in the slot, where he has also been productive. Ultimately, it comes down to this: the Jets have been awful at wide receiver the past three seasons and they just added a very good receiver at a fair price to help their young quarterback’s development. This is a positive. 

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Chris

    Don’t see how you can possibly have a problem with this deal. Basically, if this is their only WR signing, I would take a WR in the first round. If they get an Edelman/Jones/Sanders, they should still take a WR, but I’d take a developmental guy in the 4th – 6th rounds.

  • KAsh

    I do not think the game plan is for Decker to be the focus of the offense. Marty wants a versatile attack with many different sets and personnel formations. Decker is good in that he can do almost everything well and participate on any play, so never needs to come off the field. A utility knife that will always be there for our young QB.

  • John X

    Good posts. This is a solid addition and a great start to a depleted WR corps.
    Word of strong interest in Sanders now but didn’t we hear this towards James Jones while Decker visited? I believe he was a fallback to Decker as we no longer hear about him at all.
    Maybe they view Sanders as a #1A option where Jones/Decker were #1B’s. It doesn’t really matter. The strange thing is this huge interest in Marquise Lee. Would they go to such lengths to create a smokescreen by meeting twice with him? Why get two good FA WR’s AND use a 1st on WR?
    I don’t know what to make of their overall strategy towards WO’s but I would love to see a couple of veteran targets as starters for Geno. He went 8-4 with his only reliable target (Kerley) starting last year. I don’t think this was coincidental. Geno needs reliable weapons in there – they don’t have to be world-beaters, just solid, dependable capable players. I wouldn’t mind seeing Pettigrew added to that but we wait and wait.

  • tom

    It might be a good thing he got shut down by Sherman in the Super Bowl. We would have had to deal with the Joe Flacco effect, overpaying for having a really good finish to the season, which doesn’t always reflect their full body of work.

  • twoshady18


    that was exactly my thought before the SB. I was hoping Decker didn’t do well just so it would drive his price down.