I know I know. I get it already. Decker's gone bro, we can't afford him, the $ needs to go elsewhere. Just hear me out.
From what I see on the field, Decker's a top 3 #2 WR in the NFL. For those who you think that are faster, they don't run as good a routes. For those you think can catch better, they don't block better. I rarely, sorry, never seen him take a play off. Don't count complaining to the refs, that's more along the lines of flopping. That doesn't show a lack of effort per say, just a different type of effort(working the refs kind of like Lance Stephenson of the Pacers). For Instance. Last year in a play with Anquan Boldin against SEA, I forgot which DB, but the DB all but raped him on the route. What did he do? Lock facemasks with him, jawed a little, and ran back to the huddle. No harm, no foul. But what stood out to me, no flag. If that was Decker?! He would've threw his hands up at the ref screaming like somebody made a pass at his new born, and the flag would've came. Hence, working the refs. Now he has had a time or 2 where he threw his hands up early, but I can't fault the man for trying. Because he's trying. You don't get more flags being quiet. He wants every call. He wants every catch. He wants every win, and leaves it all on the field regardless of if the ball comes his way or not. I don't see prima-donna in his route running effort. I don't see it in his blocking ability. I don't see it in him when he doesn't get targets though he did speak up to the media about having only 3 TD's before the KC explosion. Not a problem in the locker. Great chemistry with the QB(car pools to games with him and Tamme). Not even an off-field consideration in regards to problems. But you guys know this already, so what's my point?
Would you pay 7mil for someone who can produce 90 catches, 1300 yards, 10 TD's, if his name weren't Eric Decker?
Most of us(myself included)say "well Manning makes guys better anyway" and that's the problem. We stack our dependence on Manning and his ability to cover up so many holes. "So what if the #2 WR brought in won't be as good as Decker, Manning will make him look good". Get my drift. Those beating the drum that Decker sucks, BS, the guy is rare and runs routes better than our #1 WR(just not as big or as fast). Here's a few reasons John Elway should try to keep him.
1. Blocking. Again, without the ball, Decker doesn't lack for effort, and holds his block consistently. Being that we will be putting more emphasis on the running game next year, if Montee decides to break outside(which I hope he doesn't to often), having someone hold their block out there is key to the success of the offense staying on schedule. It can be the difference in a play for -1, or for +4. On schedule. Its the single most important reason I would keep him because he's 1 of the best #2 WR's at blocking, in the Entire league. The man can block. He's 1 of the best at setting a pick also. We had a post on this site that said how successful he is setting picks.
2. Route Running. He can literally run everything on the route tree. Manning operates off timing and precision. Decker is 1 of the top 10 route runners in the league(slots included). Guys like Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, they aren't stand out route runners. You won't see too many jerk routes from them. Decker, as he said, is a "jack of all trades". He noted, "don't put a label on me, I don't put a label on myself" which brings me to my next point which is kind of 2 points.
3. Position/Future. I think you guys view him wrong. The more I watch him I don't even think he's a #2 no more than Pau Gasol was a 'true' center. When Pau played at Memphis, he was a center, and played well. But when he went to LA, and teamed up with a true traditional center, his versatility blossomed to the tune of 2 chips. He was a match up nightmares for 4's(PF's)because he was too big and versatile. I think Decker, going forward, should be where Welker is. I've commented on here about the fact I rarely see a 6'3, 215 lb man that can run Wes Welker routes. They don't grow on trees. Not at that size. If you get another big outside, stick Decker in the slot, he will COMPLETELY abuse #3 corners like bald-headed step children. Elway in adding weapons didn't intend(IMO)to think so short term by giving Welker such a deal. That money was Decker's from the get-go, but who would pass up the allure of pairing those 3 together right? I mean it looked like history on paper and was. But it cut into the building towards the future with Decker to go for the now in Welker. Going forward, however, Decker is Wes Welker's replacement because Wes has 1 year left on his deal(and maybe 2 good years left in the tank). And if Welker's worth 6 a year well........
4. Continuity. An underrated aspect of team building. You hear it often that if teams can keep the same coach, same system, same core, their chances of winning can only increase year in, year out. Manning never can put enough emphasis on the fact timing and chemistry take years to develop. YEARS. He's had 2 with Deck. The numbers show.
5. Draft. It puts the priority to draft a WR at the back of the draft as oppose to any higher. Maintaining an emphasis on Defense or O-line in the early rounds. But if we HAD too, Brandon Coleman from Rutgers(poor man's DT, don't believe me just watch http://draftbreakdown.com/video/brandon-coleman-vs-arkansas-2012/ ), AND Jeff Janis(most of you are familiar with his similarities to Deck). Not saying we pick those 2 specifically, just emphasizing options in such a DEEP draft. Neither will smell the 1st 3 rounds so price will be cheaper than any FA we can bring in(for say 4, 5 mil)and that $ can go to Deck. That would build depth and talent going forward, all while dropping DT's pricetag(potentially) to around the price of 9.5-10, instead of 12(potentially). If he leaves, we got 2 rookies on rookie contracts. That's 4 WR's(DT, ED, 2 rooks), for the price of 2-3(DT, FA this yr 3/4/5 mil and a rook). And don't think we can't spend 2 picks on WR's. All we have to do is trade Brock but that's another post coming soon.
I can keep going but in all reality is, he should be gone. But it's not unrealistic that we can keep him, I just don't think Elway cares to keep him too much because he's got Manning. Everybody pretty much assumes Irsay will be dumb enough to give him 10 but the man isn't worth 10(maybe 8.5-9 maybe). And if they do give him 10 a year he'll be cut/restructured after 2yrs(I hope Decker's smart enough to see that but we'll see). Keeping him in Denver isn't as hard as we think. It's all in the guarantees. If we can guarantee Decker 20 on a 4 or 5 year deal, he stays. We can guarantee that and not exceed the 20's in regards to the totality of the contract(example: 5 yrs 27.9 mil, 20 guaranteed). Whoever offers him a deal won't go too much over 20 in guarantees(Dwayne Bowe 52 mil, only 20 guaranteed). That can be the cat and mouse Elway can play with another front office if he chose(they offer 17 we offer 18 and so forth with the cut off around 20), but it doesn't appear likely that Elway will make such a play. All the money we were so excited that the John's can spend, when in reality, they don't need to get no more than maybe 2-3 FA's and let that coin carry over for next year so we can keep Von, DT, JT(Tag), Chris Harris, and Pot Roast(who we should extend this year IMO before he's too expensive).
Manning came here for 4 reasons IMO(no specific order)
1. Mile High Advantage/Climate and a hurry up offense.
2. John Elway
3. O-line that kept Tebow upright(though that may have been more tebow)
4. Demariyus Thomas and Eric Decker(young talented receiving core)
I asked the question above because if the guy that can put up those numbers were available(like Wes was available), we would jump at it with excitement if we didn't know who it was. We would assume 7 mil is crumbs for that sort of production. But we don't even have to give Decker 7 to keep him(IMO). We just have to guarantee him 4 or 5 a year, and set incentives/escalators(or whatever) that can push it to close to 6 or 7 a year. Incentives like I got up above. Decker won't average 90 catches. More like 80+. Decker won't average 1300 yards. More like 1150, 12 maybe. Now he might average 10 TD's. But not many will guarantee him 20 over the life of the contract. We can. If we want him that much.
But Decker should be gone soon. The offense should adjust. And we should move on. I just hate to see a historic offense tampered with when realistically, it doesn't have to be.