Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker (87) before Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos -- Free Agency: Anquan Boldin or Eric Decker?

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Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin (81) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Seattle Seahawks in the third quarter of the 2013 NFC Championship football game at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 23-17 to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Making the case for Anquan Boldin and Eric Decker

The Denver Broncos have a lot of needs to address this off-season in free-agency,  including who to re-sign from their 18 free-agents. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is Denver’s top free-agent priority going into the offseason as he should be. But the Broncos have a decision to make whether to throw big money towards Eric Decker, or nah.

Decker is set for a big pay-day this offseason as a result of having future hall-of-fame quarterback Peyton Manning leading the offense. Decker would appear in all of Denver’s 16 regular season games this season as he was targeted 137 times, catching 87 balls for 1,288 yards averaging 14.8 yards per catch. He was among five Denver Broncos to record 10+ touchdowns this season: (Demaryius Thomas – 14, Julius Thomas – 12, Eric Decker – 11, Wes Welker – 10, Knowshon Moreno – 10 rushing, 3 receiving.

Decker however disappeared in many games this season and according to SportingCharts.com, he was tied-5th in the National Football League in dropped passes with seven. Fellow wide-outs Wes Welker (tied 2nd with 10) and Demaryius Thomas (tied 4th with 8) were also on the list. He would also disappear in some games throughout the season; especially in the postseason.

Divisional Round vs. San Diego Chargers: 2 receptions, 5 targets, 32 yards, 0 TD.
AFC Championship vs. New England Patriots: 5 receptions, 8 targets, 73 yards, 0 TD (one pass he caught was for 21 yards).
Super Bowl XLVIII vs. Seattle Seahawks: 1 reception, 5 targets, 6 yards, 0 TD.

However, against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs in Week 13 of the regular season, he showed he could be capable of being a solid number two receiver. Decker would be targeted 12 times in that game by Manning and would catch 8 balls for 174 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Denver needs a big-time possession wide receiver and should look for a player that torched them in the 2013 Divisional Playoffs in Anquan Boldin. Boldin would be a key addition alongside D. Thomas, J. Thomas, and Wes Welker in the slot. Boldin is known for making big catches and that’s why Denver could become even more dangerous with Boldin on the roster next season.

Boldin had a solid first-year for the San Francisco 49ers in his 11th season in the National Football League. He caught 85 passes while being targeted 130 times by quarterback Colin Kaepernick for 1,179 yards and 7 touchdowns. Denver witnessed Boldin last season in the game that we can never forget as he caught 6 passes for 71 yards while moving the chains.

What is more impressive about Boldin is his postseason stats. Last season with the Baltimore Ravens, he caught 22 passes for 380 yards and four scores. This season in his first year with the San Francisco 49ers, he caught 16 passes for 227 yards and one score. If Denver cannot re-sign Eric Decker , they have a chance to sign a solid veteran presence to the receiving core in Anquan Boldin who would be the cheaper and possibly more productive option.

 

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