With the New York Jets cleaning house and moving forward with a full rebuild, veteran wide receiver Eric Decker is on the lookout for a new job. Decker follows a long line of veteran Jets players such as Nick Mangold, Brandon Marshall and Darrelle Revis, that have been let go by the team.
Unlike those options, Decker seems to be very much in his prime still and could potentially provide a huge boost for his next NFL team. There remain some lingering questions as to just how healthy the 30-year old receiver is following hip and shoulder surgeries. While Decker’s health is a mild stumbling block in the way of him latching on quickly with a new NFL franchise, his career speaks for itself and his new team should be getting a reliable target that can move the chains and make plays down the field.
The big question, of course, is where is Decker’s best fit and what teams would deem it worth the risk to bring him on? The Baltimore Ravens are without a doubt the leading contenders to land Decker, although they recently signed former Eagles and Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin to a two-year deal and could easily be done making moves within their passing game.
Head coach John Harbaugh was recently asked how likely it would be for the Ravens to add Decker at this point and he suggested Baltimore still has to weigh their options:
Harbaugh said a lot of factors will go into deciding whether to pursue Eric Decker. Said Newsome will make that decision.
Baltimore is still one of Decker’s top potential landing spots, but Bookmaker.eu and other NFL betting sites don’t list them as the only option. Let’s take a look at the latest odds as to where Eric Decker could end up playing football in 2017:
Los Angeles Rams | +200
Tennessee Titans | +250
Cleveland Browns | +500
Buffalo Bills | +750
Baltimore Ravens | +800
San Francisco 49ers | +1000
Chicago Bears | +1200
Field | -105
Baltimore really stands out with these odds, as they’ve already been tightly tied to Decker and continue to have a need at receiver thanks to the retirement of Steve Smith following last season. The Ravens did just sign Maclin and already have Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, but an offense that struggled to put up points a year ago might not take their chances without a quality receiver.
The Ravens already look like a solid Super Bowl 52 sleeper with their +4000 title odds over at Bovada, but they could really shore up their offense by adding Decker. The recent loss of star tight end Dennis Pitta may put a greater onus on the need for an impact wide receiver, as well.
Like we said, the Ravens are far from the only realistic option, especially since they’re slow to make a move and already addressed wide receiver in free agency. The Rams, Browns, 49ers and Bears all make sense from a mere “need” perspective, as these are bad teams that lack a ton of reliable talent in their passing game.
The odds aren’t great that Decker leaves one bad situation for another, however. This is a talented and versatile receiver that only knew winning from his days in Denver and probably experienced the last bit of losing football he’d like to see in 2016. Now healthy and in his prime, Decker might be looking for a big role where he can help his team win, but he also may be putting an extra onus on that winning notion.
If that’s remotely true, we might want to put a little more stock in the Titans and Bills being legit Eric Decker suitors. Buffalo was actually intensifying their interest in Jeremy Maclin before he burned them for the Ravens, and the Bills remain a team that could use a boost in the passing game. Sammy Watkins can be a stud when healthy, but the Bills otherwise only have rookie receiver, Zay Jones.
That’s not enough to keep defenses honest for Tyrod Taylor to consistently make plays, so adding Decker should be near the top of their priorities. We should also consider the Titans, who could be on the rise with young quarterback Marcus Mariota maturing and DeMarco Murray leading a balanced attack in the weak AFC South.
If Tennessee is ready to strike, perhaps they may not put all of their eggs in one basket and overly rely on rookie Corey Davis or their mediocre receiver talent behind him. Instead, they could add Decker and really make a strong push for the division title.
Where Will Decker Play in 2017?
I think there are other options out there that make good sense for Decker, which certainly keeps betting on the field in play. We get no real value or upside with that bet, but potential title contenders like the New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals and others could ostensibly use him.
If we’re going off options that are being handed to us here in this list, though, we’re logically looking at the Bills or Ravens. Baltimore has more ties to Decker right now and is the better bet when it comes to upside, but Buffalo isn’t far off.
I can see this one going either way, but Decker is going to want a nice role, he’s going to want some cash and he’s going to want a chance to win. Both teams could offer him all of that, but at this point I think the role might be more reliable with the Bills. Buffalo also may be more willing to pay up to nab Decker after losing out on the Maclin sweepstakes on Monday.
Our pick is Decker landing with the Bills, but it will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds.
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