The New England Patriots are right in the middle of the most talked-about transaction thus far in free agency: Wes Welker signing with the Denver Broncos.
News of the transaction surfaced at just about before 5 p.m. last Wednesday night—just one day into free agency. What does it all mean?
The timeline of Welker’s decision to sign with the Broncos goes as follows: Welker and the Broncos were in “serious talks” regarding an agreement at about 2:45, per Adam Schefter. At about 4:30, Albert Breer had reported that the Broncos had offered a multi-year deal to Welker. Then lastly, shortly before 5 p.m., Welker and the Broncos had come to an agreement on a contract, per Adam Schefter.
In less than 24 hours following Welker’s and Denver’s agreement, ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss published a report indicating that Welker and the Patriots had stopped contract negotiations just before the start of free agency and that New England had offered a two-year, $10 million contract that could reach $16 million through incentives. Clearly, Welker and his agent David Dunn rejected New England’s offer.
But was there an actual offer? According to Welker’s agent, via Tom E. Curran of CSNNE, the Patriots failed to make an offer to re-sign Welker and that newly signed wide receiver Danny Amendola was in the plans all along:
No offer was ever made, Dunn contends. Period…
…I asked Dunn why Welker would contend he went to Denver because he wanted to be with a winner when he was leaving a team that is 39-9 over the last three regular seasons. He returned to the notion the Patriots didn’t want Welker.
Amendola was the plan all along, he believes.
I honestly don’t believe that the Patriots actually had any intentions in re-signing Welker—he simply wasn’t in the plans moving forward.
I believe that bridges had been burned between Bill Belichick and Welker and that New England had been trying to phase Welker out for the past two seasons. Take a look at Week 1 of this past season, Julian Edelman was the starter, not Welker—if Edelman didn’t injure himself against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3, then I’m not sure if Welker would have regained his starting job.
I’m not saying that it was the right or wrong move to part ways with Welker—but what I am saying is that the Patriots had no intentions in bringing back Welker.
As we sit nearly a week following Welker’s signing with the Broncos, there’s really not much more to talk about: Welker is a Bronco and Amendola is New England’s new slot receiver—it is what it is.
Only time will tell if letting Welker walk right out the front door—right into he arms of a conference rival, I might add—in favor of Amendola was the right decision.