When the 2012-'13 NFL season officially concluded in early February with the Baltimore Ravens' 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, the Broncos were declared as the Super Bowl favorites entering 2013-'14 by Vegas.
I'd like to see those odds now.
The Broncos signed Wes Welker on Wednesday, something that wasn't exactly envisioned just a week ago before the beginning of free agency.
Welker was thrown out there as a possible option for the Broncos to sign, but many people didn't think it would actually happen.
Well, lo and behold, Welker is in the orange and blue and the Broncos now have the best receiving core in the NFL, boasting two young receivers who are coming off of 1,000 yard seasons in 2012 in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, along with the best slot receiver in the NFL who has had 111+ catches in five of the past six seasons spent in New England.
There are numerous storylines to dissect from this signing.
For one, the Broncos signed Welker to a bargain deal. It's reportedly a two-year, $12 million deal.
$6 million per year for a guy who has led the league in catches three of the past six years? That's the definition of a bargain deal.
Another storyline is that with this signing, the Broncos are easily the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, and along with the 49ers, the favorites to win Super Bowl XLVIII next year.
Lastly, the most interesting storyline of this all, may come down to this—Welker's abrupt departure from New England.
In six years with the Patriots, Welker experienced everything except for a championship. Statistics, Pro Bowls, accolades and postseason games. Two Super Bowl appearances and a 16-0 regular season isn't too shabby either.
However, it's been well documented over the past year about the deteriorating relationship amongst Welker and the Patriots organization.
Welker was initially a free agent during the 2012 NFL offseason and he felt disrespected over the negotiations and the fact that instead of New England committing to him, the Patriots lazily slapped him with a one-year franchise tag.
To make matters worse, Welker was de-emphasized from the offense entering the season, where in Week 1, he was targeted just five times and made only three grabs for 14 yards.
It was only after injuries to key cogs Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski did the Patriots and Tom Brady start zoning in on Welker again to make him a focal part of the offense.
And that's what is likely to be overlooked more than anything in the signing. Are people making mention of the deteriorating relationship with Welker and New England that dates back to last year? Sure.
But among it all, the media is crowning the Denver Broncos as Super Bowl champions entering the 2013 NFL season, and focusing on New England's potential decline as an AFC powerhouse along with their signing of Welker-lite, Danny Amendola.
What won't be covered and dissected enough is the reason for Welker's signing with the Broncos—it is purely out of spite.
There was nothing suggesting entering free agency that the Broncos would be the favorites to nag Welker. It seemingly came out of nowhere when on Tuesday, it was reported the Broncos and the Patriots were the favorites to land the slot receiver.
Then news came out that the Patriots lowballed Welker by offering him a two-year, $10 million deal.
Wes would go on a short period of time later to sign with the Broncos for $2 million more overall.
What will be examined other than the aforementioned story lines is John Elway's savvy as an NFL executive. No doubt he deserves acclaim for this signing, along with Manning's acquisition last year and the drafting of Von Miller with the No. 2 overall pick in 2011.
However, this signing happened for one reason, and one reason only—Welker is throwing a big middle finger at the Patriots.
The Broncos—after finishing with the league's best record at 13-3 in 2012 and as Vegas' favorite to win the Super Bowl next season—offered Welker his best chance to not only win a Super Bowl for the first time in his career, but to stick it to the Patriots while doing so.
Welker stuck it to the Patriots for "lowballing" him for the past year by unexpectedly signing with the Broncos on Wednesday.
The Broncos may have to go through the Patriots in order to achieve their dream of lifting up the Lombardi Trophy next year.
And Wes Welker would love nothing more than the opportunity to stick it to New England one last time.
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