The Eric Decker era in New England is officially over. On Sunday, over his Instagram account, the former Bronco, Jet, and Titan announced his retirement from the NFL. He signed with the Patriots earlier in the offseason and appeared in the last two preseason games with the team.
Decker struggled to find a niche in his brief time with the Patriots. In Friday’s dress rehearsal game, Decker didn’t take a single snap with the first-team offense in the first half. It wasn’t until Brian Hoyer entered the game in the second half did Decker see the field. A telling sign for a player looking to grab one of the last roster spots. Perhaps Decker saw the writing on the wall as this was one of his only opportunities this offseason.
The Minnesota alumn entered the league with the Denver Broncos as the 87th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Broncos, Decker caught 222 balls for 3,070 and 33 of his 53 career touchdowns. In his final year with the Broncos, he was a part of the record-setting, Peyton Manning-led offense that made it to Super Bowl 48.
With Decker gone, the Patriots are looking at a group of Chris Hogan, Philip Dorsett, and Cordarrelle Patterson as their primary receivers. Julian Edelman will join the group in Week 5 after serving his four-game suspension. After that, Tom Brady will have to rely heavily on the likes of Rob Gronkowski and James White, although a budding connection with Dorsett is promising.
The Patriots kick off the season two weeks from today against the Houston Texans.