He's getting paid, but former Gophers wide receiver Eric Decker will be catching passes from a quarterback not named Peyton Manning next season.
Decker, who caught 24 touchdowns from Manning over the past two seasons with the Broncos, signed a free-agent contract with the New York Jets on Wednesday, the team announced. Decker told the Denver Post that he's well aware he's going from one of the best of all-time to Geno Smith, a quarterback entering his second year in the NFL.
“I did research. I didn’t go into our meeting today blind,” Decker said late Wednesday. “When you go from a Hall of Fame quarterback no one else, no matter who it is can be on the same level. Talking to the offensive coordinator Marty [Mornhinweg], who has had a good track record in San Francisco and Philadelphia, he really believes in this kid.
“When you look at the statistics, yeah he got off to a slow start, but he was hurt early on and he finished the season strong. He improved all season long in a tough market. That’s pretty impressive.”
NFL.com reports the deal is for five years, worth a total of $36.5 million, including a $15 million signing bonus.
There seems to be a growing opinion that Decker isn't good enough to be a team's No. 1 wide receiver. A source told the New York Post that "Peyton (Manning) is getting him paid."
Time will tell, but Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk agrees to a point, saying Decker will "surely be running more routes that don’t end in passes hitting his hands in 2014."
Decker will bring his wife Jessie James Decker with him. She's a country music star and together they star in the E! reality series, “Eric & Jessie: Game On," season two of which begins March 30. The New York Daily News referred to them as the "distant cousin of 'Keeping up with the Kardashians.'"
Decker starred for the Gophers from 2006-2009. He finished his career with more than 3,000 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns. He also played baseball for the Gophers.