The news broke yesterday according to ESPN’s Field Yates that the New England Patriots hosted veteran WR Eric Decker for a workout on Monday. Quite frankly, I’m surprised it took this long to bring the productive wideout in for a one-on-one workout considering the leadership, talent and legit tools the receiver possesses. I would not be shocked if he was signed in the next few days, at least before their first home pre-season game August 9th against the Washington Redskins.
The Patriots could use some help at the position for QB Tom Brady and it certainly doesn’t hurt to add a guy with the level of experience and production of Decker. Over the course of his eight-year career, Decker has caught 439 passes for 5,816 yards and 53 TD’s in 111 career games played. Last season with the Tennessee Titans, Decker caught 54 passes playing a full schedule and remaining healthy as a third option on most nights for the Titans and even caught a touchdown in the playoffs in the huge wildcard win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Back to New England, not only do they have Julian Edelman set to miss the first four games of the season with his PED suspension, but Malcolm Mitchell‘s status to even play this year is up in the air. Kenny Britt and Jordan Matthews have already incurred injuries forcing them to miss time at camp, Cordarelle Patterson is brand new to the offense and more of a special teamer and kick returner and oh, Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks each departed this off-season. Bringing another veteran in to work alongside Chris Hogan and Rob Gronkowski for the first month-plus would not hurt.
Brady gets himself another steady, reliable target who is coming off a full-season of games played and Decker gets to join a winning franchise and contend for a championship after never earning one during his tenure with the Denver Broncos with Peyton Manning. Decker opted to sign with the New York Jets as a free agent following the demolition in Super Bowl 48 to the Seattle Seahawks and spent three seasons there before joining Tennessee for the 2017 season.
Signing Decker would be a Bill Belichick-esque move. Bring in veteran on the back-end of his career, load the deal with incentives and get the most out of a guy looking to win and be a part of a championship team, not the superstar looking to cash a check. We’re also talking about Decker here who is just 31 and appears to have plenty left in the tank. Why not sign the guy and see what he has to offer?
UPDATE: Jordan Matthews has been released following the “serious” hamstring injury suffered during camp. It seems increasingly more likely Decker joins the fold as a new WR in New England.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank