When the infamous Adam Schefter tweeted on Wednesday that the Broncos were in "serious talks" with then New England Patriot Wes Welker, and that a decision was "expected today," I immediately thought it was a smoke screen.
All things Wes Welker:
There was just no way that Wes Welker was leaving the Patriots, right? We all knew that Welker was not happy with the evaluation the team was giving him, but I think few thought he would actually leave. So, naturally, I thought this report was simply to scare New England and get a bigger and better deal. I was wrong. And I admitted it, with no excuses.
I am going to take you into the mind of Fernando Stepensky for a second, and the mind of countless others who were as appalled as I was to hear that Welker was officially a Denver Bronco.
Tom Brady had just given the Pats $15 million in cap relief two weeks ago, for, what I thought, was so the team could spend more. And who better to spend on then your irreplaceable quarterback's best friend, and favorite target?
Welker was coming off a 118 catch, 1,354 yards receiving, six touchdown and 619 yards after the catch season.
He was fourth in the league for targets (174), second in the league for receptions (118), eighth in the league for receiving yards (1,354), sixth in first downs among receivers (72) and first in YAC (619).
Welker also had the most catches in the past six seasons combined.
Welker had a 112 catches a year, on average, in his six-year Patriot career, only missed three games in those six years, and was paid $18 million in his first five years with the team.
Can you see why we, I mean I, didn't believe the news at first?
The Ravens, Steelers and Patriots have made it very clear in the past that they don't pay old guys who they believe are either washed up or washing up, and I greatly respect that, but Welker was not washing up just yet, despite his 31 years of age. The guy has the go-to receiver on a Super Bowl contending team for many years.
Wes Welker made slightly north of $27.5 million the past six years. Clearly undervalued, to say the least. With those numbers, you know he wants his big payday to finally come, and it didn't. Reports indicated that the Patriots were offering somewhere around two years and $10 million, which people, including myself, called "laughable."
When the fat lady sung, Welker took the Broncos' offer of two years, and $12 million dollars (with a $150,000 incentive every season he catches 90 passes).
You might think that those two million dollars shouldn't have been enough for Welker to be swayed away from his home, and it wasn't. A source had warned NFL.com columnist Adam Schein, before free agency, "if team X offered him 100 bucks and the Patriots offered him 100 dollars, he would leave New England." This was because Welker had felt "disrespected for a few years in New England."
So it wasn't about the money, it was about respect, and getting what he deserved. And according to ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss, who did a hell of a job on this entire story, an AFC team offered Welker two years and $15 million. Needless to say, Welker also chose his team based on fit, and talent as well.
A few bullet points on the deal, and Danny Amendola:
-- Wes Welker agreed to the deal without visiting the Broncos.
-- Welker himself said that he pitched the Broncos' vice president of football operations, John Elway, more than Elway pitched him.
-According to Tom E. Curran of Comcast SportsNet New England, Amendola's contract with New England, for a ludicrous 5-years and $31 million, with $10 million guaranteed, was signed on Tuesday. Meaning, contrary to popular belief, the signing of Amendola was not made as a result of Welker going to the Broncos, but more likely the other way around.
-- Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels worked with Amendola in St. Louis at one point.
-- Since 2009, Wes Welker has missed three games to Danny Amendola's 23. Not to mention, games played aside, Welker crushes Amendola in receptions per game, yards per game and average YAC per game.
I would like to finish this article with an excerpt of an article by Sports Illustrated's Peter King, because I could not have said it any better:
The Patriots have made it abundantly clear that only Tom Brady is irreplaceable among players in their world. They're going to have to figure a way to tell the Irreplaceable
One how they let his favorite weapon get away after Brady did the team such a favor two weeks ago.
Bad, bad decision by New England.