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Eric Decker isn’t worth keeping around in 2017

Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) catches a pass in front of Buffalo Bills defensive back Nickell Robey (21) during the second half at New Era Field. The Jets beat the Bills 37-31. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) catches a pass in front of Buffalo Bills defensive back Nickell Robey (21) during the second half at New Era Field. The Jets beat the Bills 37-31. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
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Wide receiver Eric Decker is no longer a value to the New York Jets, and they must cut him by the time the 53-man roster is finalized.

It’s an unfortunate situation for the New York Jets and wide receiver Eric Decker. He should become yet another cap casualty in the National Football League.

The remaining terms of his contract are two years, $17.75M. If they cut him after June 1 or designate him as a post June 1 cut, they will save $7.25M off of this year’s salary cap, and only incur a total of $3M dead cap hit to this and next year’s cap combined.

According to the Cap Tracker of Spotrac, the Jets are in the red. They have $-3,233,400 in cap space for 2017. However, that number is for the 91 players they currently have signed for training camp.

They must get below the cap once the regular season begins. Shaving the money off of this year’s cap can accomplish something else as well. The Jets can carry over any unused cap space into 2018. So, cutting Decker actually serves two purposes. It gives the Jets savings this year, and it adds more money they can spend next year.

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Some would say that Decker is the veteran presence the Jets receivers need in the locker room. However, while he’s young, many expect Quincy Enunwa to breakout this season. His youth doesn’t mean he can’t be a leader. Many expect the Jets first round draft pick, Jamal Adams, to be a leader early. So, why not Enunwa?

Enunwa can lead by example with his excellent play. He can also lead with his words, as a do as I do type leader. The best way for leaders to emerge is to allow them to break out of their shells. That’s what the Jets can do with Enunwa.

The combination of roster depth, a young emerging star, and the cap flexibility the Jets can have makes it not worth keeping Decker around. It’s unfortunate for a good guy, but such is life in the NFL.

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