7 players the New England Patriots gave up on too soon in the Bill Belichick era

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins / Mark Brown/GettyImages
4 of 8

Wes Welker

Accomplishing one of the statistically best careers ever by a wide receiver in Patriots history, the decision to move on from Wes Welker in 2013 was certainly questionable, to say the least.

Upon arriving in New England in 2007, Welker revitalized his career as he became one of Tom Brady's most trusted targets for the next six years. In the 93 regular season games he played in, he led the league in receptions three times, totaling over 1,000 yards and 100 catches in all but one season, all while breaking Patriots and NFL records.

Before the likes of Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Danny Amendola, Welker was the guy in New England. His ability to be exactly what the offense needed in every game added to his already-established legendary status for the franchise, making his departure more difficult to comprehend.

At the end of his time in Foxboro, Welker continued to be a weapon for the Broncos, totaling 73 receptions for 778 yards and ten touchdowns in 2013, sitting behind Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas.

He only played for two more years in the NFL before transitioning to a coach on the Texans in 2017. But to this day, he still holds several records for the team he saw the most success with, even if he was between their Super Bowl runs.

Considering the team's trajectory since he signed elsewhere, it begs the question of what could've been had Welker remained with the team all those years.