2013 NFL Free Agency: The 5 Best Destinations for Wes Welker

Manny GeraldoCorrespondent IMarch 6, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 20:  Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots breaks a tackle by Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens during the 2013 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 20, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

With Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker set to test the free-agent market, there will surely be a number of teams vying for his services.

Welker, who will turn 32 in May, has consistently been one of the most productive wide receivers in the NFL since he joined the Pats in 2007 from Miami. He has averaged 112 catches and over 1,200 yards per season since 2007. Welker also returns punts and kicks. 

Skeptics will point to Welker having simply benefited from New England's "system" and playing with the great Tom Brady.

There is likely some truth to it, but his talent and pass-catching abilities cannot be discredited. Welker is one of the best receivers in terms of yards after catch (YAC), and if it's simply because of the system and playing with Brady, then why hasn't Deion Branch ever recorded a 1,000-yard season?

Below are five teams that would benefit from Wes Welker's presence. It's impossible to know whether his style of play will fit their offense or whether he could develop chemistry with the team's current quarterback, but the teams featured would all be better with the signing of Welker.


San Francisco

Randy Moss is gone and there is uncertainty as to how Mario Manningham will recover from the torn ACL injury he suffered late last season. Pairing Michael Crabtree with Wes Welker gives the 49ers a top-notch tandem.

When Manningham gets healthy, the 49ers would feature a very dangerous trio in their quest to return to the Super Bowl.


Pairing Welker with Pro Bowler Reggie Wayne and Donnie Avery would give the Colts one of the best trios in the AFC. With youngster T.Y.Hilton adding depth, Andrew Luck would have a plethora of options in the passing game.

Welker would make the NFL's 10th-ranked offense even more dangerous. The Colts are $30 million below the cap so they have moolah to spend. 



Despite the Bengals' offensive struggles, they still managed to make the postseason. The Bengals offense ranked 22nd last season.

They have a star in wide receiver A.J. Green and a soon-to-be star in tight end Jermaine Gresham. Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins showed a lot of improvement, but the Bengals offense would be considerably better with the addition of Welker.

Welker would keep defenses from double-teaming Green and allow Hawkins to thrive as the third option. Like the Colts, the Bengals are also $30 million below the cap, so they can afford to spend a little more this offseason.

For a team with two seasons of playoff experience, it's important that it remains competitive in the AFC North, where it is bunched in with Super Bowl champions Baltimore and perennial playoff contenders Pittsburgh.



The Bears offense was awful last season and part of the problem was an inability to throw the ball. Brandon Marshall had a brilliant season, but the team's second-leading receiver was running back Matt Forte.

 Earl Bennett was mostly invisible last season and has regressed over the past two seasons. His days in a Bears uniform are numbered, or should be. Rookie Alshon Jeffery's season ended early due to injury, so it's difficult to ascertain what difference his play would have made.

The Bears need to add another wide receiver (or two) and Welker would give them a serious threat in the slot to pair with Marshall and Jeffery.

New England 

The Patriots brass could make the smart choice and pony up the money that Welker deserves. His stats speak for themselves and he fits in perfectly with their system. Chemistry is priceless and he's been Brady's favorite receiver since he arrived in 2007.

The Pats had the No. 1-ranked offense last season, so it begs the question, "Why mess up a good thing?"