While Tom Brady had the privilege to enjoy a day off on Friday as he celebrated his 41st birthday, the rest of the Patriots got a little bit of a break on Saturday as well with an overall light practice in Foxboro.
The session was essentially a walkthrough, but there was an important event – the debut of wide receiver Eric Decker. The recently signed pass catcher went through his first session with New England and even had some one-on-one time with Brady.
Reportedly, the wide out signed a one-year deal with the Patriots worth $1.9 million. He has a chance to go up to a $2.5 million salary if he is able to reach a certain receptions total.
Decker will wear No. 81 for the Patriots.
Of course, Tom Brady had to try out his new pass catcher, given that Decker could end up being a capable replacement for Danny Amendola this season if he makes the team. Last season, Amendola converted 83 percent of his third down catches for first downs.
While playing with the Titans in 2017, Decker was able to reach pretty high as well, moving the chains on 73 percent of his third down grabs. Throughout his NFL career, he’s totaled 102 first down conversions out of his 129 receptions on third down.
It make take some time to build up the same chemistry Amendola had with Brady, but this is a promising start.
With Decker now in the fold, the Patriots could use a little more depth at the receiver position as they released Jordan Matthews earlier this week and Malcolm Mitchell is still struggling with his knee injury.
As things stand currently, the Patriots receiving unit consists of Eric Decker (reportedly), Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson Malcolm Mitchell, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Braxton Berrios, Riley McCarron, Paul Turner and Devin Lucien.