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Patriots sign wide receiver Eric Decker to a 1-year deal, release lineman

The Patriots needed some depth at receiver.

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are signing veteran wide receiver Eric Decker to a 1-year deal, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Decker is an 8-year veteran with 5,817 yards and 53 touchdowns for the Denver Broncos (2010-13), New York Jets (2014-16), and Tennessee Titans (2017). He will effectively replace the injured Jordan Matthews, who the Patriots placed on the injured reserve.

Decker is an experienced route runner with the ability to be a high-level #2 receiver when healthy, or a fantastic #3 option in an offense. His best seasons have come across from Demaryius Thomas and Brandon Marshall, so he’ll be in a position to have success with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman drawing away the coverage.

Decker is a great red zone threat and is productive both in the slot and on the outside, making him a good complement in the offense with Edelman and Chris Hogan offering similar flexibility.

Decker posted 6 receptions for 85 yards against the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs last season. In 9 games against the Patriots, Decker has 32 receptions for 433 and 2 touchdowns, going 2-7 in those games.

We’ll see how Decker takes to the Patriots offense and whether he’ll effectively push Kenny Britt, Malcolm Mitchell, and the other receivers for a roster spot.

The Patriots will have to release a player to make space for Decker. We will share the name of the released player when it’s available.

Update: The Patriots released offensive lineman Nate Theaker to make space for Decker.

Update2: ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports that Theaker was injured/waived and will revert to the injured reserve if he clears waivers. This also explains the signing of veteran offensive lineman Brian Schwenke.