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It seems like Wes Welker was always Patriot, especially to younger fans, but the fact of the matter is he only played 6 seasons for the Patriots. Fans seem to have forgotten about Welker's arrival to Beantown, but Bill Barnwell of Grantland has not, as evidenced by this article. He makes many interesting points in this article, but two really stand out in helping to ease the pain for Pats fans wondering how anything positive could come out of the Patriots' free agency decisions this year. First there's this:

Belichick treats second-round picks like they're manna from heaven, and he dealt a second-rounder and a seventh-rounder to the Dolphins to acquire Welker. Don't look back at that decision with what we know about Welker now; look back at it with what we knew about Welker at the time. He was hardly a sure thing; he was a receiver perceived to be a situational player with limited upside... Belichick didn't sign Welker for what he was. Belichick signed Welker for what he thought Welker could be.

If you compare what Welker did before becoming a Pat, to what Danny Amendola did, you'll realize that the Amendola signing is a much safer one to make. Not only has he proven himself to be at least above average on an awful team with a below average QB, he has absolutely blown away the numbers that Welker had through his years pre-New England (Welker's career stats here, Amendola's here.) The evidence that Amendola will pan out is greater than the evidence for Welker at the time. If we trusted him then, we should trust the guy now. The second point that was made was related to durability, the biggest question about Amendola. Barnwell said:


Amendola suffered one major season-ending injury during his time with the Rams, a dislocated elbow. Over that same four-year stretch, Welker suffered one major season-ending injury, a torn ACL against the Texans. Amendola had the misfortune of suffering his injury in Week 1, while Welker's injury came during Week 17, allowing him to recuperate during the offseason... The timing of each player's injury means something in terms of their past availability for their respective teams, but those two injuries are of equal relevance in predicting their future availability for their new teams. In fact, if anything, the Welker injury is scarier; a torn ACL for a player in his early-30s is much more worrisome than a dislocated elbow for a player in his mid-20s.

While Amendola did miss an entire season with a dislocated elbow, Welker could have easily missed just as much time with his knee injury. As far as other time missed, Amendola has had injury, yes, but it's nothing that should deem him fragile or not durable. If durability is our concern, we should just release Rob Gronkowski now. No? I didn't think so.

Pats fans need to give Amendola a chance, and stop labeling this tradeoff a bust before either player has stepped on the field in their new uniforms. Do I support Belichick's decision? No. But I see that there could be potential in Amendola. Who knows, maybe he could be the next Wes Welker.

Mo Perez 3/14/2013 01:30:00 PM Edit
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