Sitting in an airport in San Francisco en route to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl in February, Wes Welker told the Herald he didn’t feel his play in 2010 warranted discussion of a new contract from the Patriots [team stats].
Think that view might have changed?
Five games into the 2011 season, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin called Welker the best receiver in the league. Forget big-time wideouts Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, Irvin said the little slot guy Welker trumps them all.
Why else would the Jets pay him the ultimate respect and have the game’s nfl jerseys cheap premier shutdown cornerback, Darrelle Revis, cover him Sunday?
When you’re on pace to break the single-season records for catches and yards, people tend to take notice.The real question is, are the Patriots keeping track, too?
Welker is set to become a free agent after this season. So while we’ve been enjoying the weekly ride, there’s a looming subplot that might not have a happy ending for Pats fans. Welker could command a significant pay day on the open market. Who wouldn’t want a guy who keeps getting free and catching the football? Who wouldn’t want a guy who can’t be covered?
“We had this conversation. Wes isn’t going anywhere,” said Irvin, who spoke with Welker last week on wholesale jerseys china his radio show and is in town today to interview the Patriots receiver for NFL Network in advance of Sunday’s game with the Cowboys. “He’s not going anywhere. How I was in Dallas, this is how I feel Wes is in New England. That’s what Wes is for the Patriots. For the way they play, for everything the Patriots have stood for, they belong together. You won’t need to campaign for Wes.
“Bill (Belichick) is smart. He knows what he’s got. Wes is in contact with Tom Brady [stats], even when they’re not touching. They have that special chemistry. Why would you let that go? There’s no way you let that go. You can’t replace that.”
Except, Belichick has never been one to pay big money for players at skill positions. Cornerback Asante Samuel [stats] and wide receiver Deion Branch are prime examples. Branch had that special chemistry with Brady, too, and a Super wholesale jerseys Bowl MVP award. And he didn’t get the contract he felt he deserved. The only receiver during Belichick’s time to get a lucrative contract was Randy Moss, but that was after Moss had one of the best seasons ever by a wide receiver, catching an NFL-record 23 touchdowns.
Belichick did come up with the cash for Brady and Vince Wilfork [stats]. Where does Brady’s go-to guy Welker fit into this equation?
Welker wants to remain a Patriot. He’s made no secret of that. We can also say there have been no discussions of late in terms of an extension or a new deal.
Might that change?
At the moment, both sides seem more intent on winning games. That’s the primary focus. Welker mlb jerseys cheap wants to win a Super Bowl. His mind is on being the best he can be toward achieving that goal, not his future salary. At least, that’s where it is today.
The issue, however, isn’t going to disappear, especially if Welker, who leads the league in receptions (45) and yards (740), keeps up his torrid pace. His price tag will rise.
Welker, who signed a five-year, $18.10 million deal with the Pats in 2007, is making $2.15 million this season. When you look at what the top receivers command these days, Welker is the bargain of the century.
Andre Johnson, 30, last season signed a seven-year, $62.7 million deal with the Texans, with $48 million guaranteed. In August, Fitzgerald, 28, signed an eight-year deal for $113 million. So, that’s the financial landscape for two of the best receivers in the league.
It’s highly doubtful the Pats will jump into that stratosphere for the 30-year-old Welker.
“We get caught up at looking at size and speed and all those things. The reality is the game is about production,’’ Irvin said. “I’ve heard slot receiver, and this and that. Let’s go talk to Darrelle Revis. Ask him if Welker can get open.People just don’t want to give the man the love he deserves.
“But he’s the best in the game right now. There’s no getting around that.”
Michael Lombardi, who worked with Belichick in Cleveland as his director of player personnel, didn’t see a particular need to get to the table right now. Winning games is the priority, not contracts.
Ultimately, Lombardi, an NFL Network analyst, also believes this will work out in the end.
“Whether you call him a slot receiver, or whatever you call him, he’s just a good football player. You try to keep all of your good football players as best you can,” Lombardi said. “Welker does a lot of good things for them. He defines himself. You don’t have to define him. I think they’ll get it done. I assume they’ll probably get it done. They also have a franchise tag they can use.”
The last two times the Patriots [team stats] used the tag (Wilfork, Logan Mankins [stats]) it signified a long-term deal was on the way. Maybe that’s how it’ll play out.
Receivers have left and not been the same without Brady. Welker probably knows the deal.
Said Irvin: ‘’I wasn’t the same without Troy Aikman. But that doesn’t take away from the reality of what you’re seeing, and what you’re seeing is the best receiver in football.’’