New England Patriots fans may have been able to accept losing Wes Welker in free agency had he signed a good-sized contract with another team. But the circumstances surrounding his split from the Pats has left many enraged. It’s easy to see why.
The Patriots lost Welker, who made five straight Pro Bowls while playing for the team, to their AFC competitor Denver Broncos, and Tom Brady’s rival Peyton Manning, over what seems to be a small amount of money.
Patriots reporter Greg A. Bedard of The Boston Globe says the Pats’ initial offer to Welker was two years for $10 million with incentives. ESPN’s Adam Schefter says Welker’s deal with Denver is for two years and $12 million.
If these reports are to be believed, that means the Patriots knew exactly what they were risking, and they refused to give Welker an extra million per season to keep him from going to Denver. While $1 million doesn’t seem like a lot of money, the six million Denver is paying him is 20 percent more than what the Pats supposedly were offering, which is a pretty decent amount. Still, it’s hard to believe the Patriots let Welker walk to one of their AFC competitors over such a small amount of money.
None of this should come as a surprise considering the report we passed along earlier on Wednesday. The Pats may turn to a cheaper alternative like Danny Amendola, who they likely think can fill Welker’s role on the team. They probably figure as long as Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are healthy, the passing game will be in great shape. They might be right. And while someone else may not be able to match Welker’s regular-season production, another receiver might not also commit the kind of postseason drops Welker did the last two years.Google+