In March, the Oakland Raiders will have the salary cap space to make impact signings in the NFL's free agency period. The team has more than 60 million dollars available to improve their roster and end more than a decade on losing football. Despite that flexibility, the Raiders brass are unlikely to go after soon to be free agent wide receiver Eric Decker.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com predicted the Raiders would make a play for Decker once free agency begins. He also thought the price tag would be around 10 million per season. Decker is coming off a monster year in the Denver Broncos record breaking offense. The fourth year wideout caught 87 passes for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. The previous season he was again a huge contributor with 85 receptions for 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns. However, both of those seasons came with future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning under center. In the only significant season Decker played without Manning, he recorded 44 grabs for 612 yards and eight touchdowns with Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton.
Decker is a fine receiver and a big part of that vaunted Denver offense. However, the Raiders are in a very different position. They have needs across the board including quarterback, offensive line, defensive line, and in the secondary. In order to get Decker, they would have to use more 15 percent of their available space. The team already has potential at wide receiver with Rod Streater, Andre Holmes and Denarius Moore. They will be looking to add to that corps, but not at 10 million a season for Decker.
Raiders' general manager Reggie McKenzie is not a Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder type. He is not just going to throw money around on big names for the sake of doing so. Oakland has the fifth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft in May. If the team wants to upgrade their wide receivers, they could have an opportunity to take Sammy Watkins. Wouldn't they rather have Watkins at a third of the price and an ever bigger ceiling? The 2014 Draft is also regarded as one of the deepest at wide receiver. So even if they don't get Watkins, they could find someone later. After all, Decker came to Denver as a third round selection in 2010.
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