Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Don't let emotion get in the way of a Welker deal

In that last few days, I have seen something among Patriots fans that's extremely disturbing. A couple of my favorites:

"We need OchoCinco!"

"Randy Moss never should have left!"

The problems with the 2010 Patriots were simple: they lacked confidence in their running game and their defense couldn't pressure anyone. They fix those things, they move up to the next level. The thing that people are already latching onto as the next thing to bitch and kvetch about, is that Wes Welker's contract is up after 2011.

"Oh gawd, the horrah! We have to get Welkah Back!!!"

Hold on, cowboy. Not so fast.

Wes Welker is coming off of a down year by his standards, which he lamented about in an interview with Karen Guregian or the Boston Herald. The money quote which everyone is now running with:

"I wouldn’t say anything I did this past year would warrant [a contract] or anything like that,” Welker told the Herald on Monday.

Here comes the public sympathy in 3....



"Awww, look at that! How refreshing! An athlete not asking for more money!"

You also have this one, taken from the comments section in the Herald:

"Wes Welker deserves a new deal! This is the same old Patriots, falling into the same old problem. Not taking care of their key players."

I assume the deals for Wilfork and Brady, the actual keys to the team, don't count.

I'm also not saying this is a public relations ploy ("I don't deserve a new contract, aw shucks"), but it took awhile for folks to catch onto Welker's foot-in-mouth presser. This is starting to remind me of the amateur GM's who loved the Mike Lowell deal after the Boston Red Sox 2007 World Series win.

Here's the deal folks: You don't want to sign Wes Welker to a long term deal after next season. He is not a franchise receiver. He's a slot receiver and returner who has gotten the hell knocked out of him in his career. He's what I call a "TMU", (True Mileage Unknown). Special teams is a vicious life, and I am willing to bet it's taken years off his career.

Also, I look at a similar receiver in terms of how he played (on offense), Wayne Chrebet of the New York Jets. Yes, I know, his career was cut short by concussions, but he played a similar role to Welker during his playing days (offensively), and Chrebet was a returner for only two seasons of his career, 1996 and 1997. From 1995 to 2002 (including the 1997 season when Chrebet only started one game) Chrebet played in 121 reg season games and had 437 catches. Since Welker started playing offense in 2005 w/ Miami, he's played in 92 regular season games with 528 catches, and was a primary returner from 2004-2009 (he had 5 returns in 2010). He's also coming off of an ACL injury, and it's not a stretch to say it affected his season and might have hurt his career in general. The majority of the best years in his career are, in all likelihood, behind him

Folks, do you REALLY want a 31 year-old slot receiver with a surgically repaired knee tied up long-term? Really? I know most of you are in love with the guy, and I understand that, but look at the receiving corps of the two Super Bowl participants now: Donald Driver can still get deep, which has never been a strong suit for Welker, and Hines Ward is signed through 2013 (PS his reception total dropped this year from 95 last year to 59 this year). Do you see any other wide-outs on the opposite end of 30?

Look, if Welker signs to a deal that makes sense for both sides, then great, welcome back. If it becomes a bidding war, he's not worth breaking the bank for.

Hopefully, he talks to Deion Branch and finds out that money doesn't buy happiness (or a Super Bowl Ring). If he signs somewhere else though, don't line up across the Tobin Bridge. It's just business.



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