(247SPORTS) – The Denver Broncos have watched as numerous former players (Julius Thomas, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Elvis Dumervil) hit the open market in recent weeks, without showing a lick of interest in reuniting.
Eric Decker could prove to be the exception.
According to SportsLine.com, the Broncos are considered the frontrunner to bring back the veteran wide receiver, with 4/1 odds. The division-rival Oakland Raiders, who’ve added WRs Griff Whalen, Jordy Nelson and Dwayne Harris this offseason, share the same odds, followed by the Seattle Seahawks (6/1) and Washington Redskins (10/1).
Via oddsmaker Storm Gifford:
The 31-year-old receiver was ravaged by injures in 2016, suiting up for just three games with the Jets. Last year, the Titans expected him to be Marcus Mariota’s go-to guy, provided he remain healthy. Despite playing all 16 games in 2017, Decker snared only 54 catches for 563 yards and one score. His reception average of 10.4 yards per catch was the lowest in his eight-year career. While Denver and Oakland are in desperate need of experienced receivers, I’m not sure his deep-route sensibilities mesh with Jon Gruden’s possession-oriented West Coast offense. And how much of a learning curve will there be in Denver with Case Keenum and a slew of new receivers? Another option is the Seahawks, who are pretty slim after Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. His experience on a veteran team would be a big boost in pushing Seattle back into the playoffs in 2018. I’ll take Seattle at 6/1.
A 2013 third-round draft pick, Decker enjoyed four quality seasons in Denver, totaling 222 receptions for 3,070 yards and 33 touchdowns across 62 appearances before bolting to the Big Apple, where he racked up 2,183 yards and 19 TDs on 163 catches. His production dipped last season in Tennessee, but he’s still an adequate No. 3 receiver.
Which is exactly what the Broncos need after losing Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler, and with Jordan Taylor coming off hip surgery. Whether they actually pursue Decker to fill that role, however, is less certain.
He’s just waiting on his phone to ring …
“Listen, there’s no holdup on my end,” Decker recently told former Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley on 104.3 The Fan. “So whoever you need to call for me, whoever you need to reach out to, please do. Not only is the team one of the greatest organizations in the NFL, but just the community. This is home for us. It’s still a big part of us because, again, we started our lives here.
“This is where I got drafted. This is where I had both of my kids and going to have my third kid. so it just means a lot to me. So obviously it’s a desirable place, but again, everything’s got to align. The stars have to kind of align for it to all work. But I’m very receptive to make it happen.”