It seems like some New England Patriots fans view “testing the market” as synonymous with “leaving” after a report from Adam Schefter stated that Wes Welker would test the free agent market this year. This was at odds with other stuff floating around, which was that the Patriots were close to a deal with Welker and that Welker would likely sign before the March 12th deadline.
Welker is not expected to have a big market in free agency, and that expectation comes as no surprise. The Patriots hold the leverage with Welker, and the Pats are clearly the best team for Welker’s future given the rapport he has with Tom Brady and the way the offense is shaped to help him succeed. That isn’t to say Wes Welker can’t succeed with another team, but he wouldn’t have the same success.
Pro Football Talk reported yesterday that the Patriots are still the favorites to sign Welker, and that falls in line with my new thoughts on Welker. I think Welker will wisely try to gauge the market for him to see if it is worth striking a final, big payday. Welker has never had a big contract in his career, and it will be interesting to see if he will get enough money from another team to justify leaving a great situation in New England.
I highly doubt that happens, and I think Welker will find that his options aren’t nearly as good outside of New England. After testing the free agent market, I expect Welker to come back to the Patriots and sign a pretty nice deal over the course of three seasons.
Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe, in my opinion, has brought the best take to the table regarding Welker of anyone. He stated, per sources, that the “overwhelming sentiment” from both sides is that Welker will be back with the Patriots.
In all honesty, I bet the best deal financially for Welker will be in New England anyway.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.