Metrics say Eric Decker was a steal for the Tennessee Titans


Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson did it again.

If you are a Tennessee Titans fan, the name Jon Robinson should probably be one of the first things that comes to your mind when you think about the team’s recent improvement.

In less than 18 months Jon Robinson has:

-Solidified the middle of the offensive line

-Avoided the temptation of Laremy Tunsil to trade down and get All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin, Corey Davis, Derrick Henry, and more. All the while knowing that Taylor Lewan would return to Pro Bowl form.

-Added one of the best line coaches in recent NFL history in Russ Grimm.

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-Re-tooled the defensive backs.

-Created one of the best two-headed running games in the NFL.

-Brought in an entirely new group of wide receivers, including Eric Decker.

Let’s focus on that last one though just for this story.

Eric Decker is a player who has consistently been a force to be reckoned with. He has posted 1,000 yard seasons with Peyton Manning, but he also did it with Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Decker did it in the slot, he did it on the outside, he did it as the WR1, he did it with Brandon Marshall on the other side, quite frankly he has done it all. And all the while he has been a good blocker and a crisp route runner.

The Titans could have struck gold in the New York Jets fire sale with Decker and that is even before looking at his contract.

According to PFT, Decker’s contract is 1 year/$5.5 million, but only $4 million is guaranteed. The other $1.5 million is incentive based, though the incentives aren’t that difficult to reach.

If you want a reference point on that deal, look at Jim Cobern’s analytics breakdown from February where he calculated Decker’s value:

“Eric Decker has been one of the top complimentary wide receiver in the NFL for a while. Who could bring even more productive seasons in the future. But the injury he sustained in 2016 puts some doubt on his prospects. Thus, I’d recommend a salary of 7,721,250, which is pretty much what he’s receiving now with exception of salary cap increase. However, if the Jets do cut Decker, he should be someone I’d target if I needed a complimentary WR.”

I mean, that is exactly what happened. The Tennessee Titans really have their two starters on the outside locked in: Rishard Matthews and Corey Davis.

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  • Bringing in Decker lets Davis take it slow and really perfect his routes. The same can be said about the effect he will have on Taywan Taylor in the slot.

    In a perfect world, Decker spends half of his time on the field in the slot and half of it on the boundary. Mike Mularkey can rely on his understanding of the game to allow him to play either position and really hone in on what Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor do best.

    If Taylor is killing the slant routes and does everything you want on passing downs, let him carry the load there. If he needs some work on his blocking and redzone work, maybe let Decker take those snaps.

    Likewise, if Davis is destroying people on the slants, comebacks, fly routes, and posts by all means let him do his work. However, if he needs a little bit of work finding the holes on crossing routes and drags you can take him off the field there.

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    Decker is a steal for the Titans, taking over $2 million under his projected value. If the Titans use him correctly he could be the veteran that helps these two rookies develop into serious threats immediately.

    More importantly, he can coach them on and off the field without hindering their growth, and he is doing it all at a bargain. Thanks Eric Decker and Jon Robinson.