Eric Decker

South Notes: O’Callaghan, Falcons, Decker

Former Chiefs and Patriots offensive tackle Ryan O’Callaghan has come out as gay, as Cyd Ziegler of OutSports.com writes. O’Callaghan, a former fifth-round pick who played in the NFL from 2006-11, describes a deeply dark period in his life during which he used painkillers extensively in order to cope with injuries and his mixed feelings regarding his own sexuality. Sadly, O’Callaghan admits he was on the verge of committing suicide before meeting with a clinical psychologist linked to the Chiefs. Slowly, O’Callaghan began coming out to family and friends — including former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and college teammate Aaron Rodgers — and is now working with an LGBT organization in his native Redding, California. O’Callaghan’s story is one of courage and inspiration, and Ziegler’s article is well worth a full read.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • As Tom Pelissero of USA Today reported yesterday, Eric Decker‘s one-year contract with the Titans can be worth as much as $5.35MM, and today Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk details exactly how Decker can reach that figure. In addition to his $2.5MM signing bonus and $1.35MM base salary, Decker can earn another $150K in gameday active roster bonuses. Additionally, Decker can get $250K if he scores four touchdowns, per Florio. He’ll receive $125K for every 10 catches starting at 30 and maxing out at 70 (netting him as much as $625K), and can earn another $125K for every 100 yards receiving starting at 450 and maxing out at 850 (potential total: $625K).
  • If recent history is any guide, cornerback Marcus Peters shouldn’t expect an extension from the Chiefs when he becomes a free agent in 2020, opines Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. Kansas City has liberally used the franchise tag on its elite defenders, including edge rusher Justin Houston and safety Eric Berry in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Of course, both of those players eventually garnered long-term deals, and are each among the top-three at their position in annual salary. Still, the Chiefs are likely to exercise Peters’ fifth-year option for 2019, then use the franchise tag in 2020 before extending him.
  • A one-year deal is seemingly never a bad investment, but some single season pacts are more valuable than others, leading Field Yates of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) to examine the best one-year contracts handed out this offseason. Decker is the most recent signee to make the list, as he’s expected to act as a veteran presence on a young Titans receiving corps. Other featured players from the NFL’s South divisions include Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe ($10MM), Chiefs defensive tackle Bennie Logan ($8MM), and Colts wide receiver Kamar Aiken ($5MM).

Details On Eric Decker’s Titans Contract

New Titans wide receiver Eric Decker‘s one-year contract can be worth as much as $5.35MM, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). Decker will receive a $2.5MM signing bonus, a $1.35MM base salary, and up to $1.5MM incentives, per Pelissero.Eric Decker

Decker, 30, had been scheduled to earn a $6.5MM base salary with the Jets in 2017, so while he won’t be able to match that figure with Tennessee, he’ll have the opportunity to come close if he meets all his incentives. While it’s unclear exactly what totals Decker needs to reach in order to unlock his incentives, the bonuses are likely tied to receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and/or the Titans team performance. Because Decker only managed nine receptions for 194 yards last year, any incentives are probably considered “not likely to be earned.”

Decker’s contract stands in contrast to fellow receiver Jeremy Maclin, who received a two-year, $11MM deal from the Ravens. Maclin, 29, is expected to earn $6MM in 2017, and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reported that Maclin’s pact doesn’t contain much “funny money.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eric Decker Had Interest From 5-6 Teams

Over the weekend, the Titans signed Eric Decker to a one-year deal. Before the wide receiver inked his contract in Nashville, he says that he drew interest from five or six teams and had other visits initially scheduled for this week (link via Jim Wyatt of Titans Online). Eric Decker (vertical)

[RELATED: Titans Sign Eric Decker]

Mulling over some of my options, I just felt like this was the right fit,’’ Decker said. “Just looking at the roster, and the progress they’ve made over the last few years, and meeting with Jon (Robinson) and Mike (Mularkey), I have a lot of respect for where they came from, their philosophy, how they do things, and that’s something I want to be a part of. “And I am excited about Marcus Mariota and the young talent he is.”

Decker has owned a home in Tennessee since 2012 and says that he used to joke with his wife about how perfect it would be to play for the Titans. When the Jets made the surprising decision to cut Decker, that opened up the door for him to turn the running joke into a reality. He’ll now get to be closer to his family while wife Jessie James Decker, a country singer, continues to pursue her career in Music City.

The Ravens and Browns were connected to Decker, but it’s not clear how serious their level of interest was. The Broncos and Eagles, despite some speculation about their interest in the receiver, were not in pursuit. It’s not clear what other clubs had interest in Decker, but based on what the 30-year-old has said, it sounds like there were at least two more in the mix.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Sign Eric Decker

The Titans have agreed to a one-year contract with free agent wide receiver Eric Decker, according to Paul Kuharsky of Midday 180 (Twitter link).Eric Decker (Vertical)

Decker, 30, becomes the latest addition to a Tennessee offense that has already seen numerous upgrades this offseason. The Titans used the fifth overall selection in April’s draft on Western Michigan wideout Corey Davis, and later drafted West Virginia pass-catcher Taywan Taylor in the third round. Third-rounder Jonnu Smith will pair with veteran Delanie Walker at tight end, while other wide receivers on Tennessee’s depth chart include Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe, and Harry Douglas.

The Jets decided in early June that they would either release or trade Decker after his three seasons in New York, and after holding talks with the Ravens about a potential swap, Gang Green cut ties with Decker last week. In addition to the Titans, the Browns also reportedly had some level of interest in Decker. The Broncos, meanwhile, were not interested in a reunion with Decker, while the Eagles — despite finishing second in the Jeremy Maclin sweepstakes — also weren’t in on Decker.

Decker, who currently lives in the Nashville area, was excellent from 2012-15 with Denver and then New York, as he averaged 82 receptions, 1,085 yards, and 10 touchdowns per year during that span. 2016 was a down season for the seven-year pro, however, as Decker appeared in only three games thanks to a shoulder injury that ultimately landed him on injured reserve. Nine catches, 194 yards, and two touchdowns marked the only production for Decker in his final Jets campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Rumors: Kaepernick, RG3, Eagles

Three NFL executives tell Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that they see former 49ers signal caller Colin Kaepernick as the best backup quarterback option available. Of course, we have watched many other QBs come off of the board while Kaepernick remains unsigned.

Kaep, [Shaun] Hill, Dan Orlovsky, Robert Griffin III,” said one AFC exec when asked to rank the best remaining options.

A fourth exec surveyed by Fowler opined that Griffin is actually the best QB left on the market. Meanwhile, one official in the group said he wouldn’t sign Griffin “under any circumstances.” It seems like teams agree more with the latter opinion as Griffin has drawn very little interest this offseason.

Here’s a look at the NFC:

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Browns Interested In Eric Decker?

The Browns appear to have some level of interest in wide receiver Eric Decker, as the club has “done some work” on the free agent pass-catcher, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com.Eric Decker (Vertical)

Cleveland already made one addition to its receiving corps this offseason, inking former Rams wideout Kenny Britt to a four-year deal, but as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com recently noted, the Browns have made inquiries on nearly every free agent receiver that has hit the market in the past several months. The club’s interest in now-Raven Jeremy Maclin is indicative of that strategy, although Cleveland never set up a visit with Maclin before he signed with Baltimore.

At present, Britt and 2016 first-round pick Corey Coleman are the Browns’ starting wideouts, and while the team has a number of intriguing options further down its depth chart, Cleveland’s pass-catching group is short on experience. Like Coleman, Ricardo Louis, Rashard Higgins, and Jordan Payton all entered the league in 2016, while Mario Alford, James Wright and Rannell Hall all have limited NFL exposure.

Decker, then, would offer the Browns another veteran receiver to play alongside Britt. The 30-year-old Decker has been linked to a number of clubs this offseason, including the Titans, with whom he met yesterday. The Broncos, however, are not interested in a reunion with Decker, while the Ravens are unlikely to sign another wideout after landing Maclin.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Meeting With Eric Decker

Eric Decker is meeting today with the Titans, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. This marks Decker’s first known free agent visit since being released by the Jets earlier this month. "<strong

[RELATED: Broncos Not Interested In Eric Decker Reunion]

Living near Nashville, Tennessee has appeal for the Decker family, Schefter hears. Beyond the live music and great food, Decker is probably also excited about the promise of the Titans’ offense. Marcus Mariota might represent Decker’s best quarterback in some time. Meanwhile, opposing defenses should be kept honest by the running of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. If Decker can stay healthy, this is a situation in which the veteran could get back to his old 1,000-yard ways.

The Titans made a major investment at WR in April by drafting Corey Davis with the No. 5 overall pick. Tennessee also has Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe in the mix, but they could use another playmaker like Decker.

On Tuesday, we learned that the Broncos are not all that interested in reuniting with DeckerSurprisingly, the Ravens are not ruling out a Decker pursuit, even after signing Jeremy Maclin.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Not Interested In Eric Decker Reunion

A Broncos/Eric Decker reunion doesn’t sound like it’s in the cards. Earlier today, head coach Vance Joseph rejected the notion that the team would have interest in the veteran wideout, who was released by the Jets yesterday.

Eric Decker“We drafted two young guys that we’re excited about,” Joseph told reporters (including Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post). “It’s a full room of guys. It’s going to be tough to find space on our roster. We can’t add anyone now. We’re satisfied with who we got now. It’s a competitive room, it’s a young room. We’re satisfied.”

Joseph is referring to third-rounder Carlos Henderson and fifth-rounder Isaiah McKenzie, who figure to be in the mix for reps behind starters Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Besides those four, the team is also rostering wideouts Jordan TaylorCody Latimer, Bennie FowlerKalif Raymond, and Marlon Brown.

Despite the depth, a Decker signing would surely be embraced by the fans. The 30-year-old spent the first four years of his career in Denver, and he averaged 86 receptions for 1,176 yards and 12 touchdowns between 2012 and 2013. Decker ended up inking a five-year deal worth more than $36MM with the Jets during the 2014 offseason, and he proceeded to appear in 33 games with New York over the next three years (including an 80-reception, 1,027-yard, 12-touchdown season in 2015).

The veteran missed the majority of the 2016 campaign as he struggled through a shoulder injury. The Jets were rumored to be shopping Decker before they ultimately released the wideout.

Gary Barnidge (vertical)On the flip side, the Broncos seemingly have some level of interest in free agent tight end Gary Barnidge. The veteran was released by the Browns in late April, and subsequent reports indicated that Denver had reached out to the 31-year-old. While he was more dismissive of Decker, Joseph didn’t necessarily shoot down the idea that the team could add the tight end down the road.

“It’s early,” he said. “It could be later on. But right now, no.”

Barnidge disappointed following his 2015 breakout campaign. In 16 games last season, the tight end hauled in 55 receptions for 612 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, that was still significantly better than the Broncos tight ends, as Virgil Green led the unit with only 22 catches for 237 yards and one score.

Besides Green, the Broncos are also rostering tight ends Jeff Heuerman, A.J. Derby, Henry Krieger-Coble, and fifth-rounder Jake Butt.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Sign WR Jeremy Maclin

The decision is in. Jeremy Maclin has signed with the Ravens, according to a team announcement. It’s a two-year deal for the wide receiver worth $11MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). He’ll earn $6MM in year one of the deal, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter) says, adding that there isn’t a lot of “funny money” in the contract. Jeremy Maclin (Vertical)

The Ravens aren’t done adding to the receiver group, either. Even though Maclin has been signed, the Ravens continue to be in the mix for Eric Decker, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Jets have informed Decker that he will either be released or traded in the coming days, but it is not clear whether the Ravens are looking to make a deal with Gang Green or wait to see if he is cut loose. The Ravens and the Jets had preliminary trade talks about Decker last week.

Baltimore surprised many during the draft when it did not select a wide receiver. The patient approach has paid off for the Ravens as they have landed a former Pro Bowler in the late stages of the offseason. The Ravens will now roll into 2017 with a receiver group led by Maclin, Mike Wallace, and Breshad Perriman. Joe Flacco will have nothing but speed at his disposal and that could mean big things for this Ravens offense.

The Ravens are hoping that the addition of Maclin will help to mitigate the loss of tight end Dennis Pitta. Pitta was released earlier this month after he suffered yet another hip dislocation. Last season, he returned to his old form and became one of Flacco’s top targets. Although Pitta will be missed, the Ravens passing attack is likely in better shape than it was in 2016.

In 2015, Maclin had 87 catches for more than 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns for the Chiefs. Even though he is not far removed from that performance, KC cut him in order to avoid paying his $9.75MM base salary for 2017. Last season, Maclin had 44 catches for 536 yards and two scores in 12 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Release WR Eric Decker

The Jets have released wide receiver Eric Decker, according to a team announcement. The Jets informed Decker last week that he would be either released or traded, so it seems that the Jets were unable to find a suitable trade. Eric Decker (vertical)

[RELATED: Ravens Still On Decker, Even After Adding Jeremy Maclin]

The Jets worked hard to find something for Decker instead of releasing him for nothing, but a release was always the most likely outcome. The Jets were willing to eat money in a potential Decker trade, but they could not eat enough to make a deal work, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The Jets were reportedly waiting to see where Jeremy Maclin would sign before giving up and releasing Decker. After Maclin signed with the Ravens, the trade market for Decker still did not materialize. Interestingly, the Ravens are not ruling out a Decker signing even after adding Maclin, so Baltimore could pounce quickly. If the Ravens are able to lure in Decker and make everything work under the cap, they’ll have one of the most intriguing WR groups of any team in 2017.

Although the veteran may be poised for a bounce-back year, teams were probably unwilling to part with anything of value to take him on at a high salary. Now, contenders will vie for Decker’s services and likely offer deals that are less expensive than the two years that were left on his five-year, $36.25MM contract.

Decker never missed significant time in his NFL career until the 2016 season. Hip and shoulder injuries limited him to just three games last season. He finished out the year with nine grabs for 194 yards and two touchdowns.

By dumping Decker, the Jets will save $7.5MM in cap space in each of the next two seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.