The 2018 season is underway with all teams in training camp. The New England Patriots have reloaded their roster, and have somewhat of a new wide receiver core for Tom Brady to work with.
With camp only eight days in, the Patriots are already being tested at the wide receiver position. Julian Edelman will miss the first four games due to suspension. Kenny Britt and Malcolm Mitchell are battling nagging injuries from either last season or the spring during mini-camp and OTAs. All that is left are rookies and second-year guys who were on the practice team from last season.
In comes Eric Decker fresh off the street.
Decker has played for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and Tennessee Titans. He has had great success in his eight years in the NFL. Now being two seasons away from his last 1,000-yard season, he is on the back end of his career. This may well be the last chance of him capping off his career with another Super Bowl appearance and hopefully, a Super Bowl win.
Bringing in Decker doesn’t seem like it is a big deal, but to Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels it is a very big deal.
Signing Decker gives Brady a veteran weapon who Brady can count on. McDaniels also drafted and coached Decker while the two were in Denver together. He is a reliable wide receiver despite not being the guy he once was earlier in his career. Nonetheless, he is still someone who can still come in and contribute right away. Decker is also considered a good locker room guy. A team can never have too many locker room guys to show the younger guys how to carry themselves and be professionals.
If the Patriots can squeeze out whatever juice Britt and Decker have left, it would make for a very good veteran receiving core and red zone threats along with Rob Gronkowski. Both Britt and Decker are 6’3″, and Gronk is 6’6″. It would be really hard to miss those targets come game time.
Decker will not be asked to be what he was in Denver, most of us, including him, probably know and understand he is not that player anymore. What would not be crazy is if Decker were to catch around 50 passes and perform in key spots for the team.
Decker signing with the Patriots is a good fit for both Decker and the team. There were rumors that Decker was close to signing with the Patriots last season. The Patriots’ roster was really deep last season at wide receiver. This year not so much, so the timing is perfect for both sides. The Patriots are hopeful that Decker can come in and contribute to a banged up receiving core.