Sunday was a tough day for the Denver Broncos. They were dominated by the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. There was another bit of information released before the game that may upset Broncos fans even more. NFL Network’s (and Super Bowl commercial star) Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Broncos will let Eric Decker test the free agent market in March.
Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas are entering contract years and the Broncos will look to take care of them first. The Broncos view Decker as a No. 2 wide receiver and will not commit superstar-like money to Decker. He will most likely seek a contract elsewhere. The Broncos hope that Decker allows them to match the contract, but odds are Decker will chase the money.
If the Broncos ultimately let Decker walk, here are three teams that should swoop in and sign him.
Washington Redskins: The Redskins are one of a few teams that will enter the 2014 with a new head coach. As the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, Jay Gruden should bring a breath of fresh air for the Redskins. He revitalized the Bengals offense with Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard in recent years.
In Washington, Gruden needs to improve the offense. Robert Griffin III does not have many weapons to throw to. Pierre Garcon is a good No. 1 option. Josh Morgan as the No. 2 is a huge drop-off. The addition of Decker will give the Redskins a guy to cross the middle and become a more balanced offense.
Detroit Lions: Everyone knows the one player the Lions are built around — Calvin Johnson. He is the be all, end all of that offense. Reggie Bush was a great addition that filled a much needed whole, but it wasn’t enough. Matthew Stafford needs a second receiver to throw to and Johnson needs a viable teammate opposite of him to relieve some of the pressure.
Eric Decker, much like with the Redskins, will be best served as a middle-of-the-field option and let Johnson spread the field. The stats may be skewed a bit after the success Decker had with Peyton Manning. However, Decker can catch 75 passes for 900 yards and eight touchdowns with the Lions.
Carolina Panthers: The fact the Panthers made the playoffs with their offense is a great testament to the defense. Cam Newton led that offense with Steve Smith, who will be 35 this season, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. None of these receivers finished in the top 40 in fantasy among wide outs.
The Panthers will be likely to sign Decker as their No. 1 option. None of the other receivers on the team should be the No. 1 option. They, especially Smith, would be better served as the second receiver and let Decker and Newton take over the passing game. If there is a team that is on the cusp of making a run at a Super Bowl, it will be the Panthers and signing Decker can get them one step closer.