Wes Welker’s role with the New England Patriots is steadily diminishing. Not only are his numbers down in almost every statistical category, the appreciation for his unique skill-set seems to have fallen off the proverbial cliff in the opening stages of 2012.
But, rather than wonder if Welker will recapture his mojo in New England, fans of the diminutive receiver should instead be wondering where he’ll be plying his trade in a few weeks.
Why? Because the New England Patriots will trade Wes Welker before the Week 6 deadline.
We shouldn’t really be surprised by such a move—providing any such change of scenery does ultimately come to fruition.
Despite a seeming ability to revamp their system on the fly whilst barely losing a step along the way, an ever-present constant in New England has been the borderline cultish manner in which players and team officials wax lyrically about “The Patriot Way.”
Welker’s preseason contract situation was well known; from the signing of his franchise tender to his seeming penchant to discuss the private matter publicly in the media, the situation certainly wouldn’t be described as the Patriot Way. That mantra motivated many a player to sign on New England’s dotted line, sacrificing extra dollars for postseason prospects.
The Texas Tech alum fought—or, at the very least, railed against—the system during the sunny days of summer, and now the system is hitting back as the dark gloom of winter approaches.
Through two 2012 contests, Welker has only caught the pigskin eight times, a number that is significantly lower than his other Patriot years. While, some of his decline could be attributed to the arrival of Brandon Lloyd, the fact that we have seen this situation before in New England points to something much more sinister.
Almost exactly two years ago, the Patriots shipped out Randy Moss, another 30-plus receiver who believed he was deserving of a long-term extension. Like Welker, Moss saw a significant decline in his averages in the opening throngs of the season before ultimately finding himself benched in the weeks leading up to his Foxboro departure.
Welker was a first hand witness to the acrimonious departure of Moss, meaning that perhaps the Oklahoma City native is perhaps seeing the writing on the locker-room wall.
While it could certainly be described as something of a sad end to his historic time run with the Pats, don’t weep for Welker.
He, more than anyone, should’ve seen this one coming.