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Jets should keep Eric Decker as veteran presence in 2017

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Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) warms up prior to a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Houston won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) warms up prior to a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Houston won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
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As the New York Jets start the process of rebuilding their roster for a brighter future, it’s important they keep wide receiver Eric Decker around for the upcoming season.

It’s no secret the New York Jets are hoping to get younger at virtually every position on the roster. It won’t be easy but with a solid draft class in the books, they’re making all the right steps towards a brighter future. With their wide receiver corps, things will be drastically different this upcoming season.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall bolted via free agency as he was a big veteran presence not just at the positional group but on the team. Wide receiver Robby Anderson might have blown his chances to make the final roster of the team due to his off-the-field incident with the law. Quincy Enunwa returns after posting his best season yet but still hasn’t reached his potential yet with the Jets.

Devin Smith tore his ACL and is out for 2017. Throw in a bunch of younger wide receivers like Charone Peake, ArDarius Stewart, and Chad Hansen, it’s easy to see that this group has a plethora of speed but very little overall experience. Things are vastly different in the NFL than anything most of these players have seen in college as the transition isn’t always an easy one.

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After coming off not one but two major surgeries this offseason, wide receiver Eric Decker appears to be on the roster bubble heading into training camp. Considering that Decker will be 30-years-old entering his eighth season in the NFL, many feel he might be on the outside looking in. He didn’t do much of anything last season due to injury and might not be the same player upon returning to the team once he’s medically cleared to do so.

With so many younger players in a positional group, having a veteran presence is important for their overall progression. Yes, Decker has never been a true No. 1 receiver as he thrives in the slot role, but his experience and ability to train the younger receivers around him is crucial to the Jets as they rebuild.

Even if Decker is used as mostly depth and in situational plays, it would still benefit the Jets tremendously since he still has some gas left in the tank. Will Decker replicate his 2015 season when he hauled in 1,027 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns? Probably not. But he’ll undoubtedly make some big plays and score a few touchdowns in 2017. Plus not to mention, show the younger receivers around him the ropes in what it takes to thrive in the NFL.

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Overall, while many are writing off Decker to even make the final roster for the upcoming season, the Jets would be wise to utilize him as quality depth and as a mentor to their wide receiver corps. It’s great the Jets have so many talented offensive weapons but it won’t mean much without having an established veteran presence to show them the little things towards being successful from a player’s point of view. This is an area Decker will excel in while also doing his part to make the Jets somewhat competitive in 2017.

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