INDIANAPOLIS -- Just a few hours after releasing veteran receiver Brandon Marshall, Jets GM Mike Maccagnan indicated his other expensive veteran receiver is safe -- at least for now.
The GM said that the Jets are focused on letting receiver Eric Decker recover from offseason hip and shoulder surgeries before they make any decisions about his future. And since there's no guarantee that Decker will be cleared for football activities any time soon, that evaluation might not take place until the spring.
Of course, Maccagnan offered no guarantees that Decker will remain on the roster as the Jets attempt to clear more salary cap space before free agency opens on Thursday. And it remains possible -- maybe even likely -- that the Jets will ask Decker to take a pay cut. But with his health unknown, Maccagnan did not sound like the receiver was about to be released as part of the Jets' recent purge.
"Right now, Eric is under contract," Maccagnan said at the NFL scouting combine. "Our goal is to get him healthy and then kind of evaluate how he comes back off the injuries and go from there."
For now, though, the Jets don't seem to have much clarity on where Decker stands in his recovery. Maccagnan talked about the "good progress" Decker is making from the two surgeries to fix injuries that limited him to just three games last season. But the expected timetable has always pushed his recovery right up against the start of training camp.
Maccagnan believed Decker will be ready for some activity earlier than that, but this far out he couldn't even be completely sure the receiver would be ready for Week 1.
"We talk quite often with the trainers about that," Maccagnan said. "I think Eric is making good progress. It's the shoulder which is the part I think he's still about a few months away. I know he can run straight ahead right now. But I think he should be able to compete in most of the (spring) OTAs, maybe some non-contact stuff. When we go into training camp, we may restrict him a little bit, just to make sure he's good and ready to go.
"But he's been making good progress and he should be fine, I think. I anticipate him being ready to start the season, unless there's a setback that we're not aware of."
The bigger issue, though, may be financial. Decker is due a $7.25 million salary in 2017 -- which seems far too high for a 30-year-old receiver coming off double surgery. He carries a salary cap number of $8.75 million and the Jets could clear $5.75 million by cutting him. They don't have to do that immediately, since their cuts so far have already put them about $34 million under the cap.
But it does make Decker's roster spot vulnerable in the future, especially if he won't accept a significant cut in pay.
That, though, is a problem Maccagnan seemed to indicate would be addressed later. For now, he said, "We're focused on getting him healthy. I'm not going to necessarily speculate about anybody's future with the team going forward."