It looks like Wes Welker left town just in time.
The 32-year-old wide receiver took some flack initially for leaving the New England Patriots, the organization that gave him a chance when his NFL career looked doomed in 2007. Even though the Patriots were frugal in their attempts to re-sign the wideout, some felt Welker owed it to the Patriots organization to stay on board because Bill Belichick and Tom Brady helped resurrect the slot receiver’s career in New England.
Fast forward a few months and no one can blame Welker for defecting to the Denver Broncos. Why would Welker re-sign with the Patriots after the franchise just gave the troubled Aaron Hernandez a lucrative contract extension the past summer that, if not for the murder charges, would have kept him in New England through the 2018 season? Sure, the Patriots had no way of knowing that Hernandez would be involved in a crime of this severity. Alas, the organization was aware of the alarming 2010 pre-draft files on Hernandez, which stated he was emotionally unstable and a troubled individual.
Why would Welker remain on a franchise that refused to agree on a long-lasting extension with him but showed a long-term commitment to Hernandez? Welker never had any issues with the organization, outside of contract disputes, in his tenure in New England and was close friends with Brady. Hernandez, meanwhile, had a temper tantrum in the weight room a week after being drafted and was a loner off the football field.
The Patriots get the upper-hand in most negotiations because they usually know when to extend a player long-term and also when to cut ties with a player. But the Patriots struck-out in the cases of Hernandez and Welker, and it will likely cost the team in the upcoming season.