Broncos Signing of Wes Welker Makes Denver Early AFC Favorites

Eli NachmanyCorrespondent IIIMarch 13, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 20:  Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots reacts after a play against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2013 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 20, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Wes Welker and the Denver Broncos have agreed to terms on a two-year contract, according to Adam Schefter.

Adding Welker to an already talented Broncos receiving corps, one that consists of rising stars Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas, makes the team's offense conceivably unstoppable.

For the ex-Patriot, this deal could be something of a revenge pact against New England after Bill Belichick's bunch refused to pay Welker big money. The slot receiver up and left for Denver, where he'll team with Tom Brady's archrival Peyton Manning and attempt to dethrone the Patriots.

The move may actually help Denver's cause on two levels. While it certainly helps strengthen a team that was one blown coverage away from the AFC Championship Game in 2012, Welker's arrival also weakens the Patriots team that the wideout left behind.

With the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens having lost three of their four starting linebackers, both of their starting safeties and one of their top offensive weapons this offseason, the only team standing in Denver's way of the Super Bowl looked to be the Patriots.

Such isn't the case anymore.

Welker is extremely productive and makes a lot of sense for a Broncos team that needed a player who could dominate the slot. With Decker and Thomas creating mismatches on the outside, teams will be forced to concede the middle of the field to Welker. Peyton Manning will be happy to get the ball to his new playmaker in space.

After a year off from football, a rejuvenated Manning passed for ungodly totals in 2012. He racked up 4,659 yards through the air, posting 37 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions to the tune of a 105.8 passer rating.

The touchdown total and passer rating were both the second-best season totals of his career, only paling in comparison to the quarterback's record-setting 2004 season.

It's easy to see that Manning still has "it."

Anyway, now, add to those totals a receiver in Welker who put up 1,354 yards and six touchdowns in 2012. In six years as a Patriot, Welker eclipsed the 1,000 yard receiving mark five times.

His acquisition will allow the Broncos to open up their passing game even more. Manning loves wide receiver screen plays and, in Welker, he has the perfect man to throw those screens to.

With Thomas and Decker attacking the deep parts of the field, teams will need to pick their poison. Have Manning and Welker nickel and dime their way down the field (as the Patriots have done so well over the last few years) or watch as one of Decker or Thomas makes a huge reception for a large gain.

Peyton Manning could take the Vikings' receiving corps (post-Harvin trade, a unit that has a combined 29 NFL catches) and have a decent season. Now, imagine him throwing to his new big three.

It's time to put the champagne on ice in Denver.