At the beginning of the season, the New England Patriots barely used Wes Welker, which came as a surprise to many. Julian Edelman, instead, received the brunt of the workload early on, and Welker received only a few snaps in the team’s season opener against the Tennessee Titans. Welker is reportedly still upset about that.
A source told Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, “You can sign a $40 million contract, but you might only make 70 percent of it. Is that better than signing a $30 million contract that you make 100 percent of?”
Welker and the Pats, however, seem to be close to signing a long-term deal, and the general belief is that the Patriots and Welker will most likely get something done before the 12th of March. This is based on reports from The Boston Globe and CSNNE that have stated things are getting close and significant progress is being made, as well as the fact that Tom Brady‘s restructured contract has made it easier for a deal to get done.
However, Welker is still mad at the Patriots decision to decrease his role, and a source told Cole that Welker has “somewhat mild disdain” towards the Patriots for that. Cole writes that Welker is a little bit worried that the Patriots will decrease his role upon signing, but I highly doubt we see any of that happen.
The Patriots were most likely seeing if Julian Edelman could potentially be Welker’s replacement, and they wanted to see what the wideout has in him. They also probably wanted to see if the team could function at a high level without Welker, and I think the answer was closer to “no”. That’s because Edelman broke his hand and later broke his foot, which leads to some injury concerns. The Patriots could do fine without Welker, but not without guaranteeing the signing of an elite wide receiver. Amidst uncertainty last season, Welker boosted his stock despite what some fans think.
Here’s my thing. If the Patriots are willing to come closer to Welker’s demands and sign the 118-catch wide receiver to a pretty lucrative long-term deal, then why in the heck would they reduce his role? Another thing to keep in mind is that the Patriots aren’t going to make decisions on a player’s future and the health of their offense based on a couple of postseason drops. If you look back at the Baltimore Ravens game and take a look at every play, Welker was the best player on offense and the only guy who was stretching the field deep.
Sorry, I had to get that rant in there. Anyway, Welker and the Patriots will most likely get a deal done, and I will be surprised if Welker hits the open market. He may still be mad at the Patriots decision to bench him, and I don’t blame the guy. I will blame him, however, if that’s a reason for him not wanting to sign with New England. As Cole states, Welker’s legacy could be at stake here.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.