The 2014 Denver Broncos may look a lot different than the team Broncos Country saw in 2013. Most of the free agent players on the roster are big names, major contributors, liked, and are well known by the fans. Make no mistake about it, while it would be somewhat disappointing to lose these players, John Elway will do his best to keep them or replace them and their production. After all, the name of the game is winning and I want the guys on the team that are going to do that in Colorado. Average football fans can only speculate what it would be like to be an NFL free agent and shopping your talents around the league via your agent. My assumption is that a professional football player, who makes a very decent living, considers all the options and doesn’t just focus on the money.
One of the most well-known Broncos to be in this category is wide receiver, Eric Decker. Since the end of the 2013 season, there has been much speculation about Decker and if he will stay in Denver or sign with another team. Because NFL football is a business, I don’t blame Decker for looking at other opportunities and testing the waters. In the end, he will do what is right for him; I want what is best for the Denver Broncos. Decker says he would be willing to stay in Denver and that is what I would expect him to say at this point in the game because negotiations for his services haven’t even started yet. Depending on the stance the Broncos take and the stance Decker’s agent takes, that willingness may or may not continue to exist.
I don’t know how players truly feel, but for fans, especially Bronco fans, it is all about winning the Super Bowl. If Eric Decker considers that when making a decision, Denver would have to be high on his list assuming Peyton Manning returns for a third season in Denver. Rest assured, knowing that conversation between Decker and Manning will occur, if it hasn’t already.
Decker can go to other teams but will it be as rewarding on the field as it was in Denver the last two years? Considering the way Manning has played the last two years, Decker will have a hard time finding another team where he will be able to match his production over the last two seasons. That success can be attributed to the offense that was ran because the Broncos have a Peyton Manning behind center. Looking at Decker’s statistics the first two years in Denver (Kyle Orton/Tim Tebow era) he caught 50 passes for 718 yards and 8 touchdowns. Two seasons with Manning as quarterback and Decker caught 172 passes for 2,352 yards and 24 touchdowns. In fairness to Decker, he didn’t start any games in 2010, his first season in Denver.
From my perspective, I am throwing out the money variable, although I do understand on some level why Eric Decker has to consider it. I know in the real world, not the NFL world, money would not be the main factor for me taking a new job, but that is just me and how I’m wired. NFL teams are going to throw a lot at Decker because they think they have an offense that he can be productivity in and you know the message to Decker will be all about their plans to get to the Super Bowl in 2014. Teams also know that they if they can sign an Eric Decker, or any Bronco offensive free agent for that matter, the Broncos will be left with a hole they must fill.
If Eric Decker does sign with another team the Broncos will recover. John Elway knows the business and he knows the type of players he wants and needs to win games. A replacement will be found. I think back to Ed McCaffrey’s nine-year Bronco career. McCaffrey also wore #87 for the Broncos and when he retired I thought it would be hard to replace him. It was, but it was eventually done. Although some years after McCaffrey retired, Decker made #87 his own. The same thing will happen if Decker chooses to move on.
I would love to see Decker stay in Denver but if he doesn’t, I hope he enjoys the financial gain and the new city. I hope he also stays healthy because I don’t want to see anyone hurt, but I hope he experiences limited success on the field, if any at all. Regarding that side of the game, I hope he watches the Broncos continue to win football games and a small part of him says “man, I should have stayed in the Rocky Mountains.” Thank goodness, at this point in the game, he can still make that decision.