As we sit on the eve of NFL free agency, wide receiver Wes Welker is still tying to stone-face the New England Patriots and make them blink. News flash for Wes–it ain’t gonna happen. The best option for Welker right now is to stay with the Patriots and take whatever offer they make him. The reason why? Because the market is soft for guys like Welker, and he wouldn’t have nearly the same success with another team.
Welker is a slot receiver–albeit a good one–who has limited potential for doing much of anything else. He’s not a long rangy receiver like a Julio Jones or Calvin Johnson. He’s not a burner who can take the top off a defense like a Mike Wallace or Devin Hester, and he’s not a guy with amazing ball skills and hands like Larry Fitzgerald.
He’s a moderately fast guy who can run decent routs to the sidelines and in the center of the field and who is willing to take some punishment. And it’s a sure thing that if Welker signed with practically any other team in the NFL that didn’t have someone named Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Aaron Rodgers tossing him the football, he’d be overvalued and underutilized.
Brady makes Welker, and in return, Welker helps pad Brady’s stats.
When you look at other receivers who have similar skills to Welker and are played in much the same way–Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, etc–and you see that those guys aren’t getting Dwayne Bowe or even Brian Hartline kind of money, it becomes clear precisely why the Patriots aren’t blinking and are willing to let Welker walk if that’s his ultimate choice.
The Patriots have a history of using guys until they can’t or don’t want to play anymore, and then they simply plug the next guy into the hole. If Welker leaves, head coach Bill Belichick isn’t going to stress over it or pound his head on a desk; he’ll simply look down a list of available free agents, or on his own team roster, and find the right guy to get the job done.
That’s “the Patriot way”, and Wes Welker needs to realize that he’s a part of that way, and it’s been for the betterment of his career.