Salary up, statistics down
By Thomas J. Harrigan, Fantasy Sports Writer
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Eric Decker should have taken some advice from former Denver Broncos teammate Wes Welker on how to play quarterback shuffle.
Welker, a free agent last offseason, traded in Tom Brady for Peyton Manning.
Decker just swapped Manning for Geno Smith.
Of course, money talks, and in Decker's case it was loud enough to drown out any tips Welker could have given him.
The New York Jets gave Decker a five-year, $36.25 million contract with $15 million guaranteed.
But while signing with New York increases his bank account, the move will depress his statistics, perhaps significantly.
Decker caught 87 passes for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, one year after hauling in 85 balls for 1,064 yards and 13 scores.
He's going from a team that just set numerous offensive records to one that ranked 31st in passing offense and last in the NFL in completion percentage.
Part of the problem with the Jets passing offense was that Smith didn't have any viable targets.
His top two receivers were Jeremy Kerley and Santonio Holmes, and they missed a combined nine games. Kellen Winslow, who didn't play in 2012, was suspended for four games. That meant Smith played some games with David Nelson, Stephen Hill and Jeff Cumberland as his top three targets.
For the Jets, signing Decker was a no-brainer.
But while Smith and New York's offense will be better in 2014, there's still a 10-mile-wide crater between Smith and Manning as well as a stark contrast between the offensive philosophies of the Broncos and Jets.
In Rex Ryan's five years as Jets coach, New York average finish in rushing attempts has been sixth. The Jets threw the ball just 480 times last season, fourth least in the league.
Decker is also going to have to adapt to being both the No. 1 option for the first time and the only weapon opposing defenses have to worry about in a division that has some top-notch cornerbacks in Darrelle Revis, Brent Grimes and Leodis McKelvin.
As for the Broncos, Decker's departure frees up 137 targets, most of which will be spread around to Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Welker.
The Thomases already were top-three fantasy options at their respective positions, and Manning having one less mouth to feed should allow the two players to at least duplicate their 2013 production amidst the dropoff we are bound to see from the Broncos' offense in 2014 after the record-setting year.
Decker, meanwhile, ranked eighth among wideouts in fantasy points last season, but as a member of the Jets the top 20 is going to be a distant memory.
03/13 16:46:28 ET