Why Welker bolted for Denver
Wednesday certainly was a monumental day, and no, we aren’t talking about the new pope. On Wednesday, Wes Welker signed with the Denver Broncos rather than return to the New England Patriots. Instead of catching touchdowns thrown by QB Tom Brady, Welker will be working closely with famed New England nemesis, Peyton Manning.
Welker signed a two year, $12 million contract with the Broncos on Wednesday, hardly the best deal Welker could have gotten, but apparently it is much better than anything the Patriots were willing to offer. So why did Welker leave the Pats? The fans certainly loved him here and coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft speak very highly of the wide receiver. For Welker though it was an issue of respect, and in athletics, respect is measured in dollars.
Welker certainly deserves a fat contract; he led the NFL with 672 catches going back to 2007 and is the only receiver in NFL history to post five consecutive 100-catch seasons. All seemed good when Welker posted yet another fantastic season in 2012 and Tom Brady freed up $15 million for the Pats when he negotiated a new contract. The problem was that the Pats expected Welker to take a discount, and that was something he did not want to do.
It did not take Welker long to find a new team. As of Wednesday morning he was a free agent and early in the afternoon the Broncos snatched him up for $6 million a year. While the focus is certainly on Welker and Kraft, you can’t forget Tom Brady who is as much a part of this as anyone. Brady will certainly miss Welker. The two have been close over the years and that bond has sparked magic on the field.
“I played with a lot of great players, whether that was Kevin Faulk or Randy Moss or Rodney Harrison, but Wes has been truly the greatest teammate you could possibly have,” Brady said.
Indeed Welker will be missed on the Pats, but with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez as tight ends who function like extra wide receivers, the Patriots do have a backup. Still, it will be hard to replace Wes’ work ethic and talent.