In what may go down as one of the biggest surprises of NFL free agency, Wes Welker will leave the New England Patriots after agreeing to a two-year deal with the Denver Broncos–meaning the wide receiver will be making the transition from playing with Tom Brady to Peyton Manning. With Welker on board, it’s safe to say the Broncos will be the favorite to win the AFC considering Manning will not only have Welker as one of his top targets in the passing game, but Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker as well.
As for the Patriots, the decision not to pay Welker the type of money he’s proven to deserve may go down as one of the most idiotic moves in franchise history.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out New England could have easily avoided this deal happening by giving Welker a long-term deal last season, but they decided to take the cheaper approach instead by slapping him with the franchise tag for the 2012 season. Flash forward to this offseason and the Patriots found themselves in another tough position as they once again didn’t want to not only provide Welker with a long-term deal, but the franchise tag for the second-straight season–which wouldn’t have been cheap.
The only question–why not just pay the man?
Say what you want about slot receivers and how they don’t tend to make the same money as some of the bigger receivers in the league like Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald, but the main point is Welker has been one of the league’s top wide receivers for a few years now and should have been paid a long time ago. Not only has Welker recorded at least 111 catches in five of the last six seasons, but he’s broken the 1,300-yard receiving mark in three of the last four as well.
With this in mind–why wouldn’t the Patriots do whatever it takes to bring Welker back in 2013?
This was one of those situations that should have been a no brainer for the Patriots and could easily come back to haunt them if they have to face the Broncos in the postseason. The fact that Welker joined Denver on a two-year, $12 million deal shows how cheap New England was over this entire situation and it will be fun to see how different the offense looks in 2013 now that Brady has lost one of his favorite targets of all time in the passing game.
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