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Oct 20, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker (87) reaches for a pass while defended by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn (32) during the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos Absolutely Cannot Afford to Let Eric Decker Walk in 2014

Before the start of the 2013 season, one guy for the Broncos who most people had counted as somewhat of an afterthought was receiver Eric Decker, who had his first 1,000+ yard season in 2012 along with a team-leading 13 touchdown grabs.

Decker emerged in his second season in the NFL with Tim Tebow at quarterback, but really broke out last year and has continued to progress in 2013. Sure, Decker leads the team in drops, but he also leads the vaunted Broncos’ passing offense in receiving through seven games.

That’s right, nearly halfway through the season, Decker has more yards and more targets in the passing game than any of Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, or Julius Thomas.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Demaryius is routinely covered by teams’ number one corners and Welker doesn’t work downfield as often as Decker, but certainly the consistency Decker has shown and improvement he has shown over the course of the last three seasons have earned him a new contract with the Broncos.

This isn’t a player you let walk in free agency.

A lot of people have been saying that you can simply throw anyone into the offense led by Peyton Manning and he’ll be able to be successful, but I highly disagree with that. I think Decker is a very talented receiver with a lot of good years ahead of him, and a lot of big plays on the horizon.

It’s scary to think this may be Decker’s last season in Denver with all the new contracts coming up that need to be renewed, but the Broncos need to place a high priority next to Decker’s name this offseason, or at least higher than has been talked about among us fans.

We all thought Decker would play third fiddle this year, but he’s been the most targeted player in the passing game. You’ll of course see games where Decker isn’t targeted as much, but that first game against the Ravens where he struggled mightily was clearly the exception, not the rule.

This is a top tier NFL receiver, and he’ll likely be paid very well in 2014. I just hope it’s by the Broncos.

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Tags: 2014 Offseason Denver Broncos Eric Decker Free Agency

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