The first two days of free agency in the National Football League have been action packed, but Wednesday brought with it a deal that sent shockwaves from coast to coast.
The Denver Broncos shook up the balance of power in the AFC in a huge way, signing wide receiver Wes Welker, who is the only player in NFL history with five 100-catch seasons, to a two-year, $12 million contract.
Denver legend John Elway brokered the deal that brought the 31-year-old to the Mile High City, so it was only fitting that he would break the news on Twitter.
Agreed to terms on a 2-yr deal with Wes Welker. Excited to have Wes join the Broncos. His production & toughness will be a great asset!— John Elway (@johnelway) March 13, 2013
From there the internet sort of exploded.
Teammates both new and old took to Twitter to either wish Welker well or welcome him aboard.
Hey @weswelker it was a pleasure being your teammate, learned alot from ya even tho we didn't talk much! I'm a fan and always will be..— Chandler Jones (@Chan95Jones) March 13, 2013
ESPN NFC East blogger Mike Reiss called the move "stunning", and was taken aback that the Patriots chose not to match the relatively modest terms of the deal.
The first thought is that it's hard to believe the Patriots wouldn't match those terms. To hear owner Robert Kraft say Monday that he hoped Welker would be a Patriot for life, then discover that the Broncos could swoop in and snatch Welker at those numbers, is a shock. The offer that the Patriots chose not to match seems more than reasonable.
According to Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet, Reiss was far from the only person who was shocked, and the person Curran spoke of has an opinion that one would believe carries some weight in Beantown.
Spoke to someone close to Tom Brady. Beyond enraged at contract details that netted Broncos Wes Welker. "Disgrace""disservice" were used.— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) March 13, 2013
That was later clarified.
However, I'd wager that Tom Brady wasn't exactly all sunshine and puppies about Welker leaving.
The farther west you traveled, the more opinions of Wednesday's deal changed, as Mike Kiszla of The Denver Post was obviously feeling his oats.
John Elway is 52 years old, walks on an artificial left knee and hasn't played football since Bill Clinton was president. But Elway can still beat the snot out of New England quarterback Tom Brady.
In fact, Elway just did. Hurts doesn't it, Mr. Brady?
Bleacher Report AFC West Lead Writer Christopher Hansen applauded the deal, stating that while Peyton Manning and Welker might have a bump or two in the road, they should get along swimmingly.
Welker is also an ideal fit with the Broncos because he’s one of the few receivers that will work as hard as Manning. The only frustration Manning might have is Welker’s inconsistency dropping the ball. But he’s so good at manipulating the center of a defense that Manning will likely have a short memory, because he’ll usually be open.
So far as how Welker's arrival would affect an already potent Denver offense, ESPN had an interesting stat.
Wes Welker had more receptions, rec. yards, & rec. 1st downs out of the slot last season than all the Broncos WRs combined.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 13, 2013
Adam Schefter of ESPN echoed the sentiment that Welker should do just fine in his new digs.
Wes Welker lands a two-year, $12 million deal from the Broncos. Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker. Have fun, Peyton.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2013
As did Mike Greenberg, although he quantified his statement by saying that he thought the Patriots would weather the storm.
The Patriots have already addressed Welker's departure, signing wideout Danny Amendola to a five-year deal.
However, any way you slice it, this a huge deal for the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos upgraded an already potent offense by adding the NFL's most prolific wide receiver over the past six years, and did so at a reasonable price.
In fact, at least one sportswriter thinks that the Denver Broncos got the steal of free agency.
2 years, $12M for Wes Welker? DEN just got the steal of free agency andthen some. That offense is going to be TERRIFYING in 2013 #NFL.— Gary Davenport (@IDPManor) March 13, 2013
You know, I like how that guy thinks.