The New York Jets are in the midst of a fire sale. Back on Tuesday, the Jets shockingly released long-time linebacker David Harris—a move that has incensed Harris’ agent for its poor timing. “Very disappointing in the timing of this event and the decision,” Harris’ agent told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “The Jets could have done this prior to free agency instead of waiting three months, especially for a player who has exhibited nothing but loyalty and class for 10 years.” That Calvin Johnson controversy doesn’t seem too bad now, huh?
But the Jets weren’t done. Later in the same day, the team formally announced that receiver Eric Decker was on the way out, either via a trade or a release. “We have advised Eric if a trade doesn’t happen, we will move forward without Eric,” Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said in a statement on Tuesday.
Wednesday no transaction was made, but it’s clear the Jets are sticking to their guns on this one.
Thank you @nyjets for the opportunity the last 3 years! I truly made some great memories and friendships that will last forever!— Eric Decker (@EricDecker87) June 7, 2017
So where will Decker land? Former NFL quarterback and current analyst for Bleacher Report, Chris Simms, believes the Detroit Lions are a possibility. In this short video for Bleacher Report, Simms lists the Lions as one of three teams that would be a perfect fit for Decker.
Simms acknowledges that Detroit has their top two receivers set with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr., but is concerned about the depth behind them. “What do you do if one of those two goes down?” Simms asked. “The offense would be seriously hampered.”
The Lions did add Kenny Golladay in the third round of the draft just over a month ago, and he has been tearing up OTAs. However, stepping into a top-two role may be premature for a player that is still learning the ropes. “He’s a young guy, he’s learning,” offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said of Golladay this week. “He makes his share of mistakes along the way.”
Simms goes on to point to Decker’s versatility as an essential asset for Detroit. “He can do slot type of stuff,” Simms said. “He’s got the size and speed to win outside. People don’t realize how big Eric Decker is.”
And that’s where Decker may fit the best. While the Lions have a few options in the slot—both Tate and tight end Eric Ebron could fill that role—Detroit doesn’t have a great outside threat that can challenge a defense downfield. Marvin Jones was originally pegged for that role, but his progress stalled midway through 2016 and it’s unclear if he’s really a good fit as someone who can stretch the defense vertically.
While Decker would undoubtedly make the Lions better and deeper at wide receiver, there remains one sticking point, and it’s a big one: Money. Decker’s current contract with the Jets has two years remaining on it and has huge cap hits for each season. Decker is currently costing the Jets $8.75 million in cap space for 2017 and will eat up even more than that next season ($9 million).
Trading for Decker would essentially eat up all of Detroit’s remaining cap space, unless they decided to immediately extend Decker to spread out that cap number beyond his two remaining years. Even so, the Lions would temporarily be cap-strapped, and even though they could theoretically create some more room with a Matthew Stafford extension, they would be running a big risk by taking Decker and his current contract.
The other option for Detroit would be to wait—and hope—that no one trades for Decker, and he’s released, as promised. The Lions could then try to negotiate a completely new contract for the wide receiver, but he would also likely have plenty of other suitors that would likely drive the price up.
No matter how you look at it, this would be a pricey move for the Lions, even if it makes a lot of sense on paper. For a team that may be looking to fill a more pressing need at left tackle, Eric Decker seems like a pipe dream.
Should the Detroit Lions try to acquire Eric Decker?
This poll is closed
Yes, trade for him
Yes, but only if they can get him on a new contract