NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — They faced each other last month in the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands. Now, Eric Decker and Breno Giacomini are teammates who will call MetLife Stadium their football home.
Giacomini’s Seahawks routed Decker’s Broncos 43-8 for the NFL title in February, then both became free agents. The New York Jets grabbed them this week, agreeing with wide receiver Decker on a five-year contract and Giacomini, who will replace departed guard Austin Howard, on a four-year deal.
Although the Jets haven’t sniffed a Super Bowl in 45 years, Decker and Giacomini felt winning vibes when the Jets came calling.
“There were other teams that had interest and other visits were a possibility,” Decker said Friday on a conference call, “but after here I felt like I was at home.”
Decker knows the right things to say, and he quickly complimented The Garden State.
“I think New Jersey’s underrated,” Decker said. “It’s a beautiful place.”
Added Giacomini: “I like the way they play, I like their defense. It’s on the East Coast, close to home (Cambridge, Mass.). I have a past relationship with (general manager) John Idzik that has been really good, and that’s one of the main things.”
In his second offseason since being hired away from the Seahawks by the Jets, Idzik addressed two key needs. Although Decker never was a No. 1 wideout with the Broncos, he will take on that role with the Jets, who released the disappointing Santonio Holmes. And Giacomini could be an important piece in front of second-year quarterback Geno Smith.
Perhaps just as significantly, Idzik went for winners, hoping some of the success in Seattle and Denver will rub off in New Jersey.
“My goal is to take the knowledge and preparation I have learned in the last four years with some great coaches and with a great quarterback and share that with my teammates,” said Decker, who caught 87 passes from Peyton Manning for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns in Denver’s record-setting offense last season. “I think you win football games between Wednesday and Saturday, and the preparation we did as an offense in Denver can be done in New York.
“Obviously, my knowledge, looking into the different offenses that I’ve played in, on the field, in the film study room, those things I can share with my fellow receivers, with my team. That will hopefully help bring along that knowledge and help their games as well.”
Giacomini spoke about bringing along something else: toughness. You expected something different from a guy in the trenches?
“I think I like to play pretty physical,” the 28-year-old Giacomini said. “I know that’s the mentality that they have here, so I’m just going to try to play my role and get better every single day. I’m just trying to bring a little bit of nastiness that I have in me and just play like an O-lineman should play.”
The Jets went 8-8 last season with not nearly the talent level of the Seahawks or Broncos. That break-even mark was plenty good enough to get coach Rex Ryan a new contract, giving the team some stability.
After releasing Holmes and cornerback Antonio Cromartie, the Jets also freed up salary cap space that used to bolster a weak offense.
Decker, who turns 27 Saturday, and Giacomini already knew the Jets could play defense.
“They were 8-8 last year, so they’re a few games out,” Giacomini said. “The main goal, I think, would be to win the division first and get a playoff win at home. I think they’re pretty close. They’re starting to load up a little bit here. The defense is pretty good, so if you can play some defense and run the ball, you can get to the playoffs.”
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