Alright, now this had me- and many others- confounded. According to former New England Patriots beat guy and current NFL Network insider Ian Rappoport, the Patriots have not even offered Wes Welker a contract yet. Can I be honest with you? I have no idea what exactly to make of this, so let me run through some quick notes bullet-point style. This is all speculation on my part, and I’m just trying to run through as many possible ideas.
1. Pats seem content to let Welker see what’s out there
Wes Welker has stated that he wants to hit the open market and see what is out there, and you can’t blame him. He has never been in a position to get a big payday, and, at the age of 32, this is his last shot. But his age goes both ways. Since Welker is 32 and fits a specific type of scheme, the market for Welker won’t be robust- his best deal is almost certainly in New England.
2. Pats playing hardball, as usual
The Patriots are showing Welker, by not offering him a contract, that they are willing to let him go. Is this to strike fear in him? Possibly. But it looks like the Pats are doing what the New York Giants did to Osi Umenyiora, “Yeah, go ahead dude, see if you have anything better out there. You know why? Because you won’t; we are your best deal.”
3. Calculated risk
This goes with both number one and number two. The Patriots are banking on the fact that Welker won’t get a big deal on the open market, and they are also hoping that Welker sees that they are all business. They are risking losing Welker to a team like the Chicago Bears or Denver Broncos, but they are also playing their leverage card.
4. Gauging his value
I think the Patriots are hesitant to give a deal to Welker first, because they want to allow him to test the open market and see what is out there. Then, they want to see what Welker’s value on the market is before offering him a contract. It’s kind of a “stick it” move financially, and it is a gamble.
5. Still Optimistic
Unless if he is BS’ing us (which he never does), Robert Kraft wants Wes Welker back. Tom Brady wants Wes Welker back. Wes Welker is most likely coming back. You know who might be BS’ing us? His agent. I wonder if Welker’s agents spread that to Rappoport, because we all know (especially Kraft) how sleazy Welker’s agents are.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.