Where Will Wes Welker Play in 2013?

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IFebruary 19, 2013

Where Will Wes Welker Play in 2013?

0 of 10

    Anyone want Wes Welker

    According to Ron Borges of the Boston Herald, the Patriots are ready to move on. This from his recent article: 

    "The Patriots are simply not going to put an $11.4 million franchise tag on Welker, someone with intimate knowledge of the team’s thinking said. Nor is he going to get an offer better than the one he turned down in 2011.

    So, where will Welker, a soon-to-be 32-year-old wideout who's caught over 110 passes in five of the last six seasons, play in 2013?

    Here's a list of 10 teams that could land Welker this offseason in a percentage chance breakdown.

    (John Clayton's cap space column and Spotrac.com were used to determine team's cap space.)

Miami Dolphins

1 of 10

    Why it's logical:


    Wes Welker played with the Dolphins from 2004 to 2006. Miami has around $40 million in cap space, and Jake Long and Randy Starks are the only free-agent priorities in 2013. 

    Ryan Tannehill showed promise in his rookie campaign with a rather lackluster receiving corps. Davone Bess has played the role of the "Welker" for the last three seasons, but he's a free agent in 2014, and adding another safety valve for the young quarterback certainly wouldn't be a negative development. 



    Why it's not logical: Brian Hartline isn't a Welker-type of receiver, but he is probably best suited as a No. 2 receiver next to a guy who can physically outmatch corners and/or stretch a defense with his speed—like Greg Jennings or Mike Wallace, wideouts who are more likely to be targeted by the Dolphins. 



    Percentage chance: 3 percent

Denver Broncos

2 of 10

    Why it's logical:


    The Denver Broncos must find a way to keep left tackle Ryan Clady, whether it's hitting him with the franchise tag or inking a long-term deal, but other than him, Denver doesn't have any major free-agent priorities. 

    More receiving weaponry for Peyton Manning—an ultra-productive underneath complement to Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker?

    Borderline unfair. 



    Why it's not logical: 


    Manning doesn't necessarily need more talented wideouts, and the Broncos don't have an abundance of cap room, especially if they work out a multi-year deal for Clady.



    Percentage chance: 5 percent

Kansas City Chiefs

3 of 10

    Why it's logical:


    The Chiefs have a good amount of cap space.

    Andy Reid is an offensive mind, so he presumably would love to add a pesky pass-catching option like Welker to his attack in 2013. The quarterback position is still up in the air, but whoever is named the starter this season would undoubtedly benefit from Welker's presence. 



    Why it's not logical:


    This tweet from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport could mean the Chiefs won't have much cap space in the near future: 

    Those asking how #Chiefs can re-sign Branden Albert & Dwayne Bowe (which they want to do): They're $13M+ under the cap. More if cut Cassel

    — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 15, 2013

    Also, gimmicky Dexter McCluster is already on the roster and players in the 2013 draft class like Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey—smaller, YAC wideouts—could fill the "Welker" role at a much lower price than signing Welker himself. 



    Percentage chance: 5 percent

Cleveland Browns

4 of 10

    Why it's logical:


    The Browns have an enormous amount of cap room. Brandon Weeden had an underwhelming rookie season, but the talent (or lack thereof) at wide receiver certainly didn't help him. Josh Gordon does have the physical makeup to emerge as a threatening No. 1 wideout, and Greg Little has some upside. 

    However, a nimble chain-mover like Welker would make those two young receivers much more dangerous. 



    Why it's not logical:


    Rob Chudzinski's offense is predicated on the vertical passing game. Although Welker did demonstrate a surprising ability to beat Cover 2 down the seam during his time with the Patriots, he is more of a lateral threat than anything else. 

    Players like Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings are, theoretically, better schematic fits for the Browns. 



    Percentage chance: 7 percent

Jacksonville Jaguars

5 of 10

    Why it's logical:


    The Jaguars have plenty of cap space, and they must add a spark to return to NFL relevance. According to the Florida Times-Union, new GM David Caldwell said the team needs to "build around Blaine Gabbert." 

    Welker would be an exquisite wideout to help aid the development of the 23-year-old quarterback, especially because a plethora of quick and short targets would increase Gabbert's completion percentage and confidence and it'd help the Jaguars offense to stay on the field.



    Why it's not logical:


    They signed Laurent Robinson to a five-year, $32.5 million deal during last year's free-agency period, so they already have a good deal of money tied up at the wide receiver position. 

    Welker likely doesn't want to play for a team at the beginning stages of a rebuilding process.



    Percentage chance: 7 percent

Minnesota Vikings

6 of 10

    Why it's logical:


    The Vikings have enough cap room to make a splash in free agency, and Percy Harvin is likely on his way out of Minnesota

    Harvin is more explosive and faster down the field than Welker, but the Patriots' wideout could easily fit into Harvin's role. 

    Also, Christian Ponder needs more receiving help if the Vikings plan to be more balanced in 2013 and beyond. 



    Why it's not logical:


    Phil Loadholt is a free-agent priority, as is weak-side linebacker Erin Henderson. If one or both of those players are re-signed, Minnesota won't have much wiggle room financially. 

    Another thing—the Vikings are likely looking to add a downfield threat instead of an underneath receiving target. 



    Percentage chance: 10 percent

Seattle Seahawks

7 of 10

    Why it's logical:


    The Seahawks have a good deal of cap space.

    Russell Wilson could use another wideout outside of Sidney Rice and Golden Tate, and Seattle doesn't have a Welker-type currently on its roster. The more offensive diversity the better, right?



    Why it's not logical:


    The Seahawks got by with the pass-catching contingent of Rice, Tate and tight end Zach Miller in 2012, and if healthy, Doug Baldwin has proven to be a capable slot target. Also, the Seahawks offense is run-heavy and utilizes traditional play-action often. 



    Percentage chance: 12 percent

Houston Texans

8 of 10

    Why it's logical:


    The Texans don't have loads of cap room, but they could make Welker a decent offer. They certainly are close to contending for a Super Bowl, and Welker could be the final piece that gets them over that second-round hump.



    Why it's not logical:


    Connor Barwin is a relatively important impending free agent, and one could argue that James Casey is as well. The Texans would potentially like to spend their money elsewhere. 



    Percentage chance: 15 percent 

Indianapolis Colts

9 of 10

    Why it's logical:


    The Colts have around $45 million in cap space. 

    Andrew Luck has all the talent, but solid pass-catchers are needed as Reggie Wayne is near the end of his career and there isn't much more receiving talent currently on the roster.

    2012 pleasant surprise Donnie Avery is a free agent. 



    Why it's not logical:


    Luck's skill set calls for receivers who excel down the field, not across it. 

    Wayne is more of a possession receiver than anything else, so the Colts don't necessarily need an short-to-intermediate chain-mover. 



    Percentage chance: 15 percent

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10 of 10

    Why it's logical:


    The Buccaneers have a significant amount of cap room. 

    Josh Freeman has the physical traits to be a viable quarterback, but he's lacked consistency during his young career. Welker could be the reliable pass-catcher Freeman needs to develop into that true franchise signal-caller. 

    Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams have established themselves a the clear-cut No. 1 and No. 2 receivers on the team, guys with huge frames who can win down the field—Welker would be the ideal complement.



    Why it's not logical:


    The Buccaneers may want to stay young and allocate their money elsewhere.



    Percentage chance: 20 percent