The Patriots franchise tagged receiver Wes Welker is once again going to be a free agent this offseason. At the beginning of this season you saw a plan be put into place to build a new branch to their offense and prove a point that the Patriots don’t need Welker to be effective. This plan involved Julian Edelman getting more reps with the starting offense while Welker warmed the bench. Throughout the season, however you have seen the offense shift back to what works and that is Tom Brady to Wes Welker to move the sticks.

Welker recorded yet another 100+ catch season with over 1,000 yards and is the first guy in history to do it 5 times breaking his tie with Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison; In short, Wes Welker isn’t going anywhere. The plan had a good basis because if you can get the same production from a younger player at a cheaper price then you definitely want to pursue that, but throughout Edelman’s short career he has never played an entire season. Edelman like Gronkowski is susceptible to injury and you can’t be a great in NFL history if you’re on the sideline every year. Welker’s ability to stay healthy is his most underrated quality as a player and goes under the radar because he’s too busy breaking records. It’s also interesting to throw in there that this is the last year on Edelman’s deal as well.

Welker this season has been a true professional dealing with all the media questions about the benching as well as dealing with his own personal ego and he couldn’t have handled it better. He has been a pillar of consistency the entire time he’s been in New England and the man deserves to be paid. The thing that keeps Belichick from going into a long term deal with Welker is just his sheer size paired with his inside slot position which is a position that takes a lot of beating throughout a season. Welker is also 31 years old which makes him not the best candidate for a long term deal so business wise the Patriots are trying to do the right thing which fans need to understand. Don’t look for Welker to have a 5 or 6 year deal, but instead I would say he’s looking at a max of 3 years.

Belichick throughout his time here has always tried to build aspects of his team’s game while the season goes along. Instead of the local media going into a frenzy about Wes Welker sitting they should have considered the fact that Belichick was trying to build a new point of attack with his team. Due to injuries his plan has never panned out, but you can’t blame the guy for trying to be less reliant on a 31 year old slot receiver. The deeper the team you have and the more things defenses have to account for the more likely you are to win the Super Bowl.

Joshua Brown 1/17/2013 12:30:00 PM Edit

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