Wes Welker truly is dead-set on hitting the free agent market, and it sounds like the New England Patriots could be without their slot receiver. Yesterday, Ian Rapoport reported that the Pats never offered Welker a deal and that both sides broke off talks yesterday. If Welker gets what he is looking for on the free agent market, which I doubt, then he will likely play somewhere else.
The Patriots might not be waiting on Welker to make his decision and see his market value, because there are reports stating the Patriots view Danny Amendola as a potential replacement for Welker. I do too, but Welker is a significantly better player than Amendola- the latter’s only clear advantage is age. If the Pats do sign Amendola over Welker, then I would really like to see New England pick up another wideout in free agency or higher-level draft prospect.
Not only did Welker and the Patriots break off talks yesterday, but the Boston Herald is reporting that both sides were “miles apart” when they did break off talks. Robert Kraft has stated several times that he wants to keep Wes Welker, but the fact that they reportedly did not even offer him a contract has me confused.
The Pats are clearly playing hardball with Welker, and they are showing Welker that they are willing to move on from him and sign a guy like Amendola. Meanwhile, Welker’s camp is unwisely playing hardball, because they are acting like they hold the leverage- which they don’t. Welker’s best deal is to stay in New England, and he likely won’t have the robust market he thinks he will. He is entitled to seek his value outside of the free agent market, but he has more to lose by not staying than the Patriots do.
But let’s face it, the best thing is for both sides to get something done. And that’s not happening, and I don’t know who to blame. Is it Welker? I don’t think so. Kraft and the Pats? No. Welker’s agents? Probably. But I think we need to face the fact that this is the stuff that happens in free agency, especially to players who have never had a big pay day and are looking for one- but also have close ties to the team they might leave.
It is painful, and it is even more painful to think that neither side is doing enough. I mean, they are still “miles apart” after having an entire offseason to try and get a deal done? We’ll see how things move forward, and I am extremely interested to see what Welker’s market is. Who wants him? How much are they willing to pay? Is he going to “stick it” to the Pats by signing with the Miami Dolphins?
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.