New York Jets: Quincy Enunwa injury highlights risk of Eric Decker release

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 30: Quincy Enunwa (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 30: Quincy Enunwa (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Losing Quincy Enunwa revealed a problem in the New York Jets rebuild — releasing Eric Decker was a huge risk.

The preseason is almost here so it is almost time to see the New York Jets rebuild in action. Saturday night, the young Jets take on the Tennessee Titans. We know the story of the roster by now, basically stripped to the bare bones. Gone are nearly all of the veterans and in are the young players looking to make a name for themselves in the NFL. It will be a different kind of year in New York, watching a team build for the future rather than trying to challenge New England for the division.

It’s ironic that the Titans are the first opponent of the preseason. One of Marcus Mariota‘s newest weapons is none other than Eric Decker. As part of the roster purge, Decker was released late in the offseason, along with David Harris.

At the time, I talked about how the move continued the process of the rebuild. But on the other hand, it put the quarterbacks at risk. Quincy Enunwa was the wide receiver with the most remaining experience. It becomes difficult to grade a quarterback’s development without solid receivers.

Well, now the worst case scenario has happened. At the Green and White practice, Enunwa reinjured his neck and had to leave. Rich Cimini of ESPN reported that Enunwa has a bulging disk in his neck and will head to injured reserve, slated for season-ending surgery. He faces a 6-9 month recovery (per team press release).

Without Enunwa, we are seeing the risk that was involved with releasing Decker. Forgetting the part that Decker was the team’s best route runner, which would have helped any quarterback, there is something else.

Now the No. 1 receiver is Robby Anderson. He posted 42 receptions last year. Nobody else on the team is even close. As far as career receiving yards, Marquess Wilson leads the team with 777 yards. To put that in perspective, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Julio Jones and others posted more yards last season than any active Jets receiver has in their career.

Right now, the Jets have no experienced options for the young quarterbacks to throw to. 2017 is the year that the team must decide if Christian Hackenberg and/or Bryce Petty have the ability to be the team’s quarterback of the future. It would be much easier to evaluate a quarterback with an experienced receiver to throw to. Decker would have been that guy. Without him, and now without Enunwa, these signal callers will be throwing to receivers severely lacking in experience.

The team was non-committal on whether or not they will add a veteran receiver. They probably should, otherwise the quarterback evaluations became that much more difficult.

Next: NFL Power Rankings 2017: Preseason Week 1

Such is life as a Jets fan. Things never come easy. Perk up, ladies and gentlemen; it gives us character and will make it that much sweeter when the team finally wins.