With blockbuster deals for both Hartline and Bowe, how does that affect what Welker’s market is? It seems this year, more than any, the money players are asking for and receiving are higher than normal. This means that the discounted market the Patriots were hoping for and counting on just might not be what they thought.
The Patriots have been "CAP smart" throughout the years, even when the CAP didn’t seem to be important or worth following, but this year they believed the CAP would matter and it would make them be able to sign a bunch of good players at lower prices. It’s still way too early to tell, but it seems like big money deals are happening already.
Dwayne Bowe may have been on the Patriots radar if he ever hit the market, but he didn’t, racking up a deal worth 56 million dollars for five years. Bowe is a different kind of receiver than Welker because he can stretch the field and he’s big; those receivers usually warrant more money than small slot guys. Of course only 26 million is guaranteed, but it’s still huge. I wouldn’t expect Welker to make that kind of money in the open market, but just to give you a comparison, Welker ranked number 8 in receiving yards while Bowe ranked 40th.
One WR off market: Dolphins signed WR Brian Hartline to a 5-year deal worth $30.775 million, including $12.5 million in guaranteed money.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2013
Hartline's deal could have an impact because Hartline was 16th in receiving yards and plays the same position as Welker, so Welker will obviously demand and deserve more than Hartline. It is however good news in a way, because the Dolphins were one of the teams that could have been interested in Welker so now that they signed Hartline, they won’t be any longer; one less team to compete with is good news.
This offseason is just beginning and maybe the Patriots can still be shopping at Wal-Mart, but these two deals could prove to be the norm this offseason, making Belichick’s job a little more challenging.