The New York Jets finally released Eric Decker a week after announcing that they’d be parting ways with the veteran wide receiver.Eric Decker’s legacy with the New York Jets is an interesting diatribe. He came in like a wrecking ball and with a label, as a by-product of Peyton Manning. Decker, after achieving statistical success with the Denver Broncos, was looking for a pay day.
He found one with the Jets after getting the red carpet treatment from the team with all the bells and whistles. It resulted in a five-year deal for $36 million, good guaranteed money for Decker and the Jets got fair value. A win-win scenario.
Decker ended up spending three seasons with the Jets that was filled with highs and lows. We spoke about his departure on the latest episode of The Jets Zone on Sports War Radio last week.
So back to the top 10 list … we decided to take a look back at Decker’s time with Gang Green and pull the top-10 plays of his Jets career.
10. Week 15 of the 2015 Season: New York Jets at the Dallas Cowboys
Brandon Marshall & Eric Decker have both scored a TD in 8 games.
Most by a pair of teammates in NFL history. pic.twitter.com/woOXtXLAdN
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 27, 2015
This isn’t a play in particular, but it’s a series of moments. I probably shouldn’t be breaking my own rules I set on this post during the first play, but oh well. Prior to the 2015 season, the Jets hadn’t seen a wide receiver go over 1,000 yards since 2007.
Two receivers went over that mark in 2015 in Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. In this game against the Dallas
In this game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Jets broke the tandem-touchdown mark by two receivers on the same team in Jets history. But here’s the final numbers from that season: 189 receptions, over 2500 yards and 26 touchdowns combined. These records may never be broken again. While Decker and Marshall are both gone, their impact together for this magical season will never be forgotten.
9. Week 4 of the 2015 Season: Washington Redskins at the New York Jets
Hidden fact about Decker? He has a problem finishing off plays. It’s not to say that he chooses to go out of bounds, but for some reason, some guys have a knack for the end zone and well, some guys don’t. Decker doesn’t and on this play against the Redskins he breaks two tackles and shows some shake and bake, but per usual, falls just short.
8. Week 13 of the 2014 Season: New York Jets at the Tennessee Titans
While the 2014 season wasn’t as marvelous as the Jets would’ve liked, they had several bright moments including this in the Music City. Great footwork by Decker and he’s not quick, but he’s deceptively fast. Decker ended up with seven receptions for an even 100 yards on the afternoon.
7. Week 8 of the 2015 season: Buffalo Bills at the New York Jets
The Christmas Game. The Colorblind game. Whatever you want to call it, Eric Decker helped the Jets with a terrific catch in double coverage. Decker’s bread and butter is his route running. He split the seam, beat the press coverage and Ryan Fitzpatrick laid it where only he could get it.
6. Week 13 of the 2015 Season: New York Jets at the New York Giants
This was one of the pivotal games of that 2015 season for the Jets. The Giants had been the big brothers and won two world championships in a short span in the last decade. While the Jets hadn’t even been to the Super Bowl since 1968-69 season. Eric Decker and Ryan Fitzpatrick had chemistry, this no-look, turn around and snag touchdown was beautiful. The Jets would go on to win this game in overtime.
5. Week 7 of the 2015 Season: New York Jets at the New England Patriots
The catch and contact get a solid B+ on the big board. Decker is a possession receiver, and let;s be honest, white men can’t jump and they can’t run fast either (Although, Jordy Nelson is starting to change my tune a little).
But, I never said white men couldn’t dance!
Decker gets an A+ on the celebration. A little fencing, sword fighting and football combination. Original.
4. Week 4 of the 2015 Season: New York Jets ‘at’ the Miami Dolphins (In London)
Decker has an underrated set of mitts in his NFL career thus far. He’s got some natural stick ’em on there and that’s displayed in this highlight. You not only get the one-handed catch, but you get the follow through on some nice YAC (yards after catch).
3. Week 2 of the 2014 Season: New York Jets at the Green Bay Packers
This was one of the prettiest passes I’ve ever seen. Throughout the majority of the first half, Geno Smith looked like the next coming. Up until late in the second quarter, he got hit which turned into an interception and eventually a 14 point swing. But it seemed like Smith and Decker had built a strong connection and perhaps one that would last longer than it did.
2. Week 17 of the 2014 Season: New York Jets at the Miami Dolphins
#TBT When @EricDecker87 went off w/ @GenoSmith3 for @nyjets
Final stat line: 10 receptions 221 yards & a touchdown https://t.co/n03uocaiTd
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) June 13, 2017
This is easily No. 2 for me. This was Decker’s first season with the Jets and was Geno Smith’s second season. The big question for Decker was simple, is he a legitimate bonafide No. 1 receiver?
Heading into Week 17 most people thought he wasn’t. Was he on a bad team? Sure. Was there inevitably going to be a precipitous drop-off from a future Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning to whoever the Jets doled out? Obviously.
But heading into this game Decker’s stats were pathetic: 64 receptions, 741 yards, and four touchdowns. This final contest turned into a stat-sheet-stuffing affair for the ages with over 200 yards and double digit receptions. Decker never really became a No. 1 receiver and there’s nothing wrong with that.
While this is a top 10 “plays” list. I’ll show you the big play that happened in this game that really opened things up. You can re-live all of the highlights in the tweet above. But Decker ran a wheel route up the left hash and broke free and Geno Smith floated it to him in stride for the 74-yard score. Also, a fun fact: Geno Smith had a perfect passer rating in that game of 158.3.
1. Week 16 of the 2015 Season: New England Patriots at the New York Jets
Was there really even a question on what play would be No. 1? This was by far the highlight of Decker’s career with the Jets and possibly his entire career thus far.
The Jets entered Week 16 on a four-game winning streak and looked destined for the playoffs and beyond. But standing in their way was the New England Patriots in December for a must win game.
Not many gave the Jets a chance that day, but the Jets were led by Ryan Fitzpatrick’s three touchdown passes, Brandon Marshall’s phenomenal day (eight receptions, 115 yards and two touchdowns), and of course, Decker’s game-winning catch in overtime.
Perhaps this game will be most remembered for Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick deferring in overtime and giving the red-hot Jets offense the ball. I was at this game and witnessed history. The atmosphere was electric and that’s a moment I’ll never forget it.