The Patriots will face their toughest challenge next Sunday against possibly the best team in the NFL. Bloggers and journalists are highlighting the Brady/Manning rivalry and recalling their previous AFC Championship clash. One story line that seems to be getting downplayed is that former Patriot Wes Welker is heading back to his old stomping grounds. So why is this story not receiving much attention?
The biggest factor in Welker's lack of production is the development of Emmanuel Sanders. While Welker was serving a suspension, for supposedly using Molly at the Kentucky Derby, Sanders became the new favorite target for Manning. Sanders accumulated 14 catches for 185 yards in those first two games. He has had four games with 100 or more receiving yards so far this season.
It also may be father time finally catching up with the former Patriot. Welker turned 32 this year which is ancient for wide receivers. After this season he may not have much left in the tank.
Unless the Broncos re-sign him Welker will hit free agency next year. Should that happen the question might be whether Belichick and the organization would consider welcoming him back to Foxborough.
It wouldn't be the first time the Patriots brought back a receiver who left under less than desirable circumstances. If you recall Deion Branch held out in 2006 and then field a grievance against the Patriots for not negotiating with potential partners in good faith. Branch landed in Seattle where he had mediocre success and came back into a Patriots uniform for the 2010 season.
Do you believe Welker's best days are behind him? Should the Patriots go after him if he hits the free market next off season? Let us know in the comments section below!