Eric Decker's somewhat surprising retirement announcement, Sunday, seemingly took a shot at an already thin New England Patriots receiving corps. 

But, how does this announcement affect the team's plan for it's positional depth moving into the regular season?

Honestly, the answer might be, not that much.

Decker had struggled to perform up to his standards in his short time with the Pats, dropping passes and not fully looking in sync with the offense.

Though the Patriots only appear to have Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson and Phillip Dorsett as locks for the initial 53-man roster, with Julian Edelamn out the first four games of the season  due to a PED suspension, Decker's poor play didn't seem to guarantee himself a spot on the opening roster.

His experience in the league and track record might have been enough to earn him a spot on the team, to show that he could turn into a contributor.

With his retirement, however, the team will no longer have that option.

Instead, now the team will have to look harder at the likes of youngsters Riley McCarron, Braxton Berrios and Devin Lucien.

Thus far this preseason, McCarron has led the way for the young pack, catching five of eight balls thrown his way for 55 yards.

Lucien had a big first game, catching four balls on six targets for 71 yards against the Redskins in early August, but has not caught a ball on just three targets over the past two games.

Berrios has been the least productive of the bunch, as the rookie has caught just one ball this preseason.

Both McCarron and Berrios, however, do add some value in the return game, which could help them in terms of making the roster.

Week 4 of the preseason might go a long way in deciding who out of this group will join the locks.




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