NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Jets’ struggling offense will be without one of its biggest playmakers for the rest of the season.
Wide receiver Eric Decker was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder and will have season-ending surgery.
Decker was inactive the past two weeks after initially being injured at Buffalo in Week 2 and the shoulder worsening at Kansas City the following week.
Last week, coach Todd Bowles said it was still “too early to tell” whether Decker would be placed on IR, which would mean he would have to sit out at least eight weeks.
The wide receiver, whose status was called by the team “week-to-week” with the injury, said last Thursday that his mindset was that “I want to get back on the field, yes,” but was uncertain as to whether that would be possible this season.
It’s a huge blow to the Jets, who have not been the dynamic offense they were last season with Decker, fellow receiver Brandon Marshall and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the way.
Decker had nine catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns in three games. He had 80 receptions for 1,027 yards and 12 scores — including a team-record 10 scoring grabs inside the opponents’ 20-yard line — last season as he and Marshall combined for 26 TDs. Decker signed as a free agent with the Jets in 2014 after four seasons in Denver and has been one of the NFL’s most-productive receivers in that time with 163 receptions for 2,183 yards.
Decker’s absence has had a noticeable effect on the Jets, who have scored a total of seven points in the second half in the past three games since a 37-31 win at Buffalo in Week 2 in which New York put up 17 points after halftime.
Quincy Enunwa has served in the No. 2 role since Decker was hurt, and leads the Jets with 27 catches. But other than Enunwa and Marshall, who has 24 receptions, New York has mostly inexperienced receivers left on its roster.
Seventh-round pick Charone Peake (four catches, 36 yards) and undrafted free agents Robby Anderson (five for 56) and Jalin Marshall (five for 64) are among the Jets’ remaining receivers — but Jalin Marshall has missed the past two games with a torn labrum.
New York also signed former Tampa Bay receiver Jeremy Butler on Tuesday, and cut Jeremy Ross. Butler had 31 catches for 363 yards last season for Baltimore, which signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee-Martin in 2014, but cut him this summer after training camp.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora predicted that newly acquired tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins could see an increased role in Decker’s absence.
The Jets signed cornerback Nick Marshall off Jacksonville’s practice squad Wednesday to fill Decker’s roster spot.
New York has lost three straight games to fall to 1-4 on the season, with a road game at Arizona on Monday night up next.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)