I am in awe of Wes Welker, particularly when I watch an NFL game at field level, where the speed, sheer power and brutality in indescribable.
And guess who was always somewhere in the middle of that hell hole? Wes Welker.
Welker would make a catch. He would get hit, sometimes viciously in the head area. And he would get up.
Every single time.
I don’t want to discount his production, about 110 catches a year. But its his ability to play every down of every game, despite being 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, that is most appreciated.
That’s what the Patriots and Bill Belichick have going against them. Everybody loves Wes.
Sure, the few memorable drops seem to always find their way into the “Welker Debate,” but he has overcome those drops with toughness.
That being said, Welker’s biggest drop may have happened this past week.
I’m not saying Belichick was “Mr. Wonderful” during the negotiations. But everybody knows Belichick’s stance. He doesn’t get emotional and he doesn’t overpay.
Why doesn’t he overpay? Because he doesn’t mortgage the future to win now. Players are paid what he’s guessing their production and importance will be going forward.
Welker and his agent gambled that there would be $20 million in guaranteed money out there, or at least a handful of teams willing to pony up $8 million to $9 million over the short term. Quite frankly, myself and a few million New Englanders, sided with Welker and his agent.
Belichick, though, didn’t see it. Slot receivers, even the Hall of Famers, just don’t get the money the home-run hitters get.
Guess who was right?
The most surprising aspect of Welker leaving was the chump change he received, $12 million over two years. That’s less than what iffy Celtics forward Brandon Bass is making over the next two seasons.
If Welker felt slighted for not starting in last season’s opener or for sitting the first quarter two years ago when he told those “footie” references during N.Y. Jets week (playing of Rex Ryan’s foot fetish), then that’s his prerogative.
But he should know by now that the Patriots are run a certain way, a way that has a proven track record. Sure, it seems to be a little nutty sometimes, with grown men having their voices suppressed and talking like robots, but with Belichick around that is the way it’s always going to be.
I don’t fault a pro football player going for the most money. They deserve every penny they can get. Most will have some football-related football ailment when their careers are over and they deserve to be compensated for it, particularly when the sport has surpassed baseball as our nation’s pastime.
Would I have signed Welker to a two-year deal for $12 million? Yup.
If I was Welker, would I have signed for two years with the Patriots, with incentives to make $16 million (or $4 million more than he’ll make with the Broncos)? Indeed.
There is obviously a personality clash here. You know what happens when personalities clash? You get counseling. Or you split up.
Welker will never be forgotten in this space. I can not say how many times I said, “He’s amazing.” Maybe 1,000 times. Maybe more.
Rather than participate in the rock fight going on, though, maybe it’s time to look at this differently.
Welker gets to play with Peyton Manning, who is on a par with Brady. And the Patriots potentially get a Welker-in-the-making in Danny Amendola.
Let’s be honest, it will be fun comparing notes.
You can email Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.