EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 14, 2013

Pats spin their wheels, gain no ground

Not by a longshot, but Denver certainly is

On Pro Football
Hector Longo

---- — FOXBORO — The D.A. show returns to Boston, via the New England Patriots.

But I ask you Pats fans: Is your football team better off today than it was yesterday?

Danny Amendola is in at the slot receiver, and Wes Welker is gone. He’ll be Peyton Manning’s binky/chain mover for the next two seasons.

For the life of me, I can’t figure the positives to come out of these two moves yesterday, with Welker being shunned for the younger, injury-maligned former Ram.

At best, it’s a wash, and the Pats have gone nowhere.

Meanwhile, Denver — one of your chief competitors for the AFC title — picks up a 100-catch, 1,000-yard receiving weapon for Peyton Manning.

The last time Welker lined up across the formation from a receiver as good as Demaryius Thomas, Tom Brady and Co. re-wrote the NFL passing records in 2007.

Let me tell you right now. Peyton Manning — on a mission, one last dance, call it what you want — now has supreme weapons, better than Brady has at his disposal.

What are the Patriots doing right now? The power players in the NFL, for better or worse, are moving and shaking.

Baltimore continues its fire sale, because it has to.

But Denver, San Francisco and Seattle continue to stockpile and rip it up with new talent, thanks to the position they are in.

The Pats are in perfect position, with mega-dollars and even more cap dollars to expend.

Yet, nothing but spinning wheels.

Your secondary combusts when the lights get hot. One of your three top safeties scooted to Philadelphia on Monday. Your third corner awaits sentencing for an assault in Nebraska.

And nothing, with $27-million dollars on your cap to spend — without any manipulation.

Players abound.

Literally, this team could go out and sign a pair of potential Pro Bowl cornerbacks and still be well under the salary cap.

Still, silence.

As for Welker, the typical New England response will be to kick him in the groin on the way out. Fans here excel at it. Remember, these are the folks who boo Adam Vinatieri.

The bottom line is that for six seasons, Welker has been the consummate Patriot.

He’s been consistent, durable and selfless, the three qualities Bill Belichick adores.

For sacrificing his body and bouncing back to ask for more, Welker received the Vinatieri-ian cold shoulder from this organization.

I commend him for courageously accepting the franchise tag and the accompanying $20 million over the last two seasons. Between those two contracts and this one with Denver, he’ll be set for life.

A guy who repeatedly puts his life on the line, like Welker does, deserves that.

He was class here. He was Brady’s boy.

And now, he’s in Denver. Until this football team, gains some ground on the opposition, that fact should scare Pats fans to death.