Welker has been the most productive receiver in the NFL for years now, yet apparently, he’s not worth $12 million over two years to New England. If you ask me, that’s a certifiable slap in the face.
I’ll give you one stat on Welker’s production: In the last six years, he’s had 110-plus receptions five times. In his entire NFL career, Jerry Rice had 110-plus catches exactly twice. Don’t get me wrong, they’re very different players. But I think you get the point.
Welker’s production aside, what makes me the most angry about the Pats letting him slip away is this: Sure, I see Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman as more-than-capable replacements. Both are younger and faster than Welker. But it could very well take Amendola two or more years to develop half the chemistry with Tom Brady that Wes Welker has right now.
Welker is 32—it’s not like he’s that old—and the window of opportunity for Tom Brady (and Wes) to win it all is right now. Why the need to bring in new blood and pass on a known (and incredibly productive) commodity?
Sure, it’s the Patriots' reputation to stick it to the players and make it known that no one is that valuable and the cogs in their wheel are all mostly interchangeable.
But it’s also the Patriot way to look for players, regardless of size, who know their role and compete on every single play. Wes Welker might as well be the poster boy for that mantra. If I was Tom Brady, I’d sure be ticked.
As for Danny Woodhead, although he plays a different position, he might as well be Welker Jr.
Both guys leave it all out on the field, they are, pound for pound, two of the toughest guys in the entire league and they contributed to the Patriots in a big way. Neither one was making unreasonable demands, and both were good for team morale.
Yes, it's true Wes Welker had become something of a scapegoat for the Patriots’ two most recent and brutal playoff losses. But I can just envision him catching a beautiful touchdown pass from Tom’s biggest rival, Peyton Manning, that sends the Patriots packing in the final seconds of next year’s AFC Championship game.
On second thought, I can see him dropping the pass and New England rejoicing.
Whatever the outcome, one thing is for certain—the Patriots better make some move; otherwise, they won’t have the opportunity to play against Welker in next year’s AFC Championship game.
Geoff Roberts is the Founder and Managing Editor of howiGit.com, a New England Patriots blog.