Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker will be a free agent in March. He had a chance to increase his market value with a stellar performance in the Super Bowl last night but he came up short, catching just one pass for six yards as Denver suffered a 43-8 blowout.
Regardless of his performance on the big stage, Decker will still command substantial interest in the free agent market after catching 87 passes for 1,288 yards. And it appears that the Broncos will let him test the market. Could the Redskins be one of the teams in competition for his services?
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network the Broncos do not intend to sign Decker prior to the start of free agency on March 11. The team would like to have him back and they are hoping that Decker will come back to them to give them a chance to respond to the best offer. But Decker doesn’t have to do that. Many teams frown on being used to get a better offer elsewhere and any unsigned he takes back to the Broncos to match could be withdrawn.
The truth is that the Broncos simply can’t afford to pay Decker more than he is likely to get elsewhere. They have about $15 million in cap space but they have a few other free agent priorities like linebacker Shaun Phillips and they face the need to offer big contracts to linebacker Von Miller and receiver Demaryius Thomas. That might not leave room for a highly-paid No. 2 receiver.
Decker may be reluctant to leave a successful team with all-time great Peyton Manning at quarterback. But Manning is likely to be around for only another season or two and Decker’s contract will extend beyond that.
The Redskins are looking for a second wide receiver to pair with Pierre Garçon. Decker, who turns 27 next month and at 6-3 has the size that Jay Gruden likes is likely to be on the list of players that the Redskins will consider. It might be difficult to fit him in under the salary cap as Garçon has a fairly sizeable contract (5 years, $42.5 million, 2014 cap number $9.7 million) and squeezing another big WR contract in might harm their ability to fill other needs.
Bottom line, a Decker-Redskins union does not seem likely but it can’t be ruled out completely.