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Wondering if Wes Welker is headed for a “contractual mud wrestle”

Wes Welker, Akin Ayodele AP

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker said earlier this offseason he didn’t deserve a new contract.

His agent would probably disagree, considering that Welker has led the NFL in catches since signing a five-year, $18.1 million contract with the Patriots four years ago.   Beloved in New England by fans and Tom Brady alike, Welker is now 30 and could be headed for a tricky negotiation after the 2011 season.

Our buddy Tom Curran of CSNNE.com chimes in:

“I have the feeling he’s in for a contractual mud-wrestle with the Patriots. His productivity is going to decline, he is not the most surehanded receiver (he led the league with 13 dropped passes in 2010), his skill set is – while wondrous – not entirely unique (in three games replacing Welker, Julian Edelman has 24 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns).”

We agree with most of the points above.  Slot receivers don’t make huge money on the open market, but there will be some team out there wanting to get sprinkled with magic Patriots dust.  (Think of the contracts for David Givens, Deion Branch, and David Patten.)

In the end, however, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Wes Welker take the Tedy Bruschi route and accept a below-market deal in New England. (Don’t expect Welker to be his own agent like Bruschi.) Welker is the same guy that didn’t hold the Patriots over a barrel when they traded for him.  He’s the same guy who said he didn’t deserve a contract in January.  Who says that?

Welker deserves a raise, and everyone knows it. But Welker also knows he has a good thing with Brady and probably isn’t eager to leave.

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30 Responses to “Wondering if Wes Welker is headed for a “contractual mud wrestle””
  1. friendlylittletrees says: May 18, 2011 10:34 AM

    Never use ‘mud wrestling’ in an NFL title again… Unless it involves CHEERLEADERS!

  2. jw731 says: May 18, 2011 10:37 AM

    You forgot one more thing…..He’s not the idiot taking a 500k loan at a 23 % interest rate…

  3. patsforever says: May 18, 2011 10:43 AM

    Saying that Welker isn’t sure handed displays a complete ignorance of who the player is. He came back from a gruesome injury last season that would have sidelined most for the first 6+ weeks of the season. That is why he had problems with dropped balls. Prior to that I would contend that there weren’t many that had a better catch/target percentage in the league. Tom Curran is a fool.

  4. ianwhetstone says: May 18, 2011 10:44 AM

    There’s not a more overrated player in the league than Wes Welker. (Nor is there a more over-regarded stat than number of receptions.) I admire the guy for his willingness to take shots over the middle, but he plays in an offense that makes Wes Welkers, not the other way around. He’s more valuable to New England than he would be just about anywhere else, but they’re a smart organization; I don’t see them allowing themselves to be bent over a barrel for a run-of-the-mill player in a favorable position.

  5. pftwstbshmc says: May 18, 2011 10:47 AM

    Wes isn’t going anywhere. Unlike some greedy “It’s all about me” players, he knows a good thing when he has it and won’t do anything to screw it up. As long as Brady is taking snaps, he will be here. He will retire a Patriot.

  6. CKL says: May 18, 2011 10:54 AM

    Welker’s football smarts and ability to be on the same page as his QB is HUGE though. The Pats basically “admitted” how huge that is to them when they traded to get Branch (with whom Brady has great chemistry) back. While I was disappointed with the drops the normally surehanded WW had, I also expect him to have a better season another year removed from his injury. I usually cut a guy a break a little for having a tough year when coming back from a major injury. I am guessing mentally coming back from his injury caused him to press a bit and have more drops. Along with just trusting the knee.

  7. rc33 says: May 18, 2011 11:04 AM

    Welker had 122 catches in 13 games in 2010. He missed the first two games of the season with injuries then blew out his knee Week 17, on his first catch of the game against Houston.

    Whether he works better in the Patriots offense is not the point. Bottom line, like Montana throwing to the Greatest WR to Ever Play the Sport, where they are and who they play with is all we have to go on.
    Troy Polamalu is the most overrated player in the league because his skill set and talents work better in Pgh’s D than they would anywhere else. Polamalu would never even sniff a Pro Bowl in Seattle or Jacksonville.

    Ultimately, it’s a pointless exercise.
    And I don’t believe what I said about Polamalu in the least.

    “There’s not a more overrated player in the league than Wes Welker?”
    How about some substantive facts instead of conjecture and B.S.

  8. bozosforall says: May 18, 2011 11:18 AM

    Waaaaahhhhhh!!!!

    Moooooommy, Rosenthal is picking on my Patriots again!

    Leave it to the biggest crybaby fan base in all of sports (the NE/Boston fan base) to whine once again about one of their players getting exposed for what he is, a system player.

  9. karlpilkington says: May 18, 2011 11:25 AM

    You can believe after all that Wes has done for the Pats they will screw him. Just like they do with all of the other players. I can only hope that players will start to care more about money than winning because of the LO situation.

  10. rc33 says: May 18, 2011 11:25 AM

    …still waiting for a listing of all those NFL offenses that are not part of “a system.”

  11. CKL says: May 18, 2011 11:28 AM

    ^^^^^^
    bozo is a bitter ‘fins fan maybe? LOL

  12. knucklebucket says: May 18, 2011 11:34 AM

    bozosforall says:
    May 18, 2011 11:18 AM
    Waaaaahhhhhh!!!!

    Moooooommy, Rosenthal is picking on my Patriots again!

    Leave it to the biggest crybaby fan base in all of sports (the NE/Boston fan base) to whine once again about one of their players getting exposed for what he is, a system player.

    __________________________________

    Did you even read the article or are you just a hater that posts crap like this on every patriots story? Your ineptitude and lack of anything resembling knowledge is a glaring weakness in your statement. Although Wes may be considered a system player to some degree you seem to be ignoring one simple fact. The reason Belichick targeted Welker in 07 was because he was tired of being burned by him when he played for the Dolphins. Has playing with Brady elevated his game? Yes But the skill was there long before he came to New England.

  13. mike83ri says: May 18, 2011 11:39 AM

    Uh, not sure-handed? It was probably his worst season for drops since he got to New England, and while he may have led the league, he was also near the top of the league in targets. It’s all relative.

    122 targetsm, 86 catches. For those bad at math, that’s 70.49% completion. Of the top 40 players in targets last year, he has the highest completion % of all WRs. That actually makes him, by definition, the most sure-handed receiver in the league, Tom.

    2009: 76%
    2008: 74%
    2007: 77%

    Sure, he’s down from prior years, but that’s expected when missing all of training camp, still regaining confidence from a ridiculous recovery from an ACL tear, and losing Randy Moss.

  14. ianwhetstone says: May 18, 2011 11:44 AM

    ““There’s not a more overrated player in the league than Wes Welker?” How about some substantive facts instead of conjecture and B.S.”

    Okay. What Welker fans cite most often is his number of catches; but, just like a carry for a running back, a reception has no inherent value (setting aside for ease of discussion circumstantial value, like whether or not you want the clock to stop). Say that Player A can get me 1000 yards via 70 catches on 110 throws, while Welker can get me the same 1000 yards via 100 catches on 145 throws.

    Fans who cite number of receptions would apparently have me believe that Welker’s production was the more valuable of the two, pointing to the substantial difference in balls caught. But this is quite the opposite of the truth; Welker’s contribution is considerably LESS valuable, because I miss out on the production of 35 more offensive plays that went to other players.

    That doesn’t even get into the plain reality that Welker sees vastly inferior coverage compared to pretty much every other receiver who gets the kind of acclaim that he does. The number of three-yard hooks that he catches with nobody but a linebacker anywhere in the vicinity is pretty astonishing.

    He’s a perfectly good role player in an offense that utilizes him well… but that’s what he is. It’s an offense where a Julian Edelman, who might well not have a roster spot on 31 other teams, can be 80% of Wes Welker. The Troy Polamalu line is absurd; Polamalu is an astounding individual talent, capable of doing everything asked of a safety in pretty much any defense at a high level (and most of what’s asked of a linebacker, for that matter).

  15. rc33 says: May 18, 2011 11:45 AM

    Wilfork, 4 yrs./$40 million, including an $18 million up-front signing bonus.
    Screwed?

  16. wheresmyjuice says: May 18, 2011 11:48 AM

    It’s pretty clear the majority of his drops are a result of being the short hot route guy in that NE offense. On a regular basis, he has significantly less time to react to the football than any other WR in the NFL.

  17. touchdownroddywhite says: May 18, 2011 11:50 AM

    Wes Welker is saying the things he knows he needs to in order to stay in NE.

    Would you rather resign a guy to a below market contract who feels he deserves more and may become a hassle down the road or would you rather resign the guy that will apparently be grateful for whatever he is offered?

    Just wondering.

  18. shageman13 says: May 18, 2011 11:59 AM

    (Pats fan here)

    Yes, Welker is overrated. Yes, Julian Edelman could do a pretty fine job in the slot. No, Welker is not the most overrated player in the league.

    That would be Mr. Clay Matthews III.

  19. EJ says: May 18, 2011 12:44 PM

    I’m sure there are plenty of teams that would jump on the Welker train…

    Even with the 13 drops in 2010, the guy is an instant game-changer.

  20. patsforever says: May 18, 2011 12:45 PM

    “Okay. What Welker fans cite most often is his number of catches; but, just like a carry for a running back, a reception has no inherent value (setting aside for ease of discussion circumstantial value, like whether or not you want the clock to stop). Say that Player A can get me 1000 yards via 70 catches on 110 throws, while Welker can get me the same 1000 yards via 100 catches on 145 throws.”

    How about YAC (huge stat for receivers), first downs, and just plain clutch play. You either don’t watch much football or you are in denial. Welker is a great athlete, and as far as your claim that he sees inferior coverage please explain why he was playing against Revis last season. That blows a hole in both claims. If he wasn’t a great receiver Ryan wouldn’t put one of the league’s top two corners on him. Your argument is flawed by your lack of factual foundation.

  21. j0esixpack says: May 18, 2011 12:57 PM

    It’s a bit disingenuous for writers, fans or Patriots management to knock Welker for leading the league in dropped passes.

    When you lead the league in catches, you lead the league in passes thrown your way, and it can be expected that as a result you’ll have among the highest drops.

    It happens.

    A “hometown discount” contract with incentives/roster bonuses that would serve to reward Welker for continued high performance might be a fair way to proceed.

  22. rabidbillsfan says: May 18, 2011 1:22 PM

    what the heck does Welkers leg injury have anything to do with him catching balls. Unless, like Rex, he catches them with his feet.

  23. rabidbillsfan says: May 18, 2011 1:31 PM

    Not to beat a dead horse, but where do you commentors get your info? Or are you just bad at math. Welker was targeted 123 times last season, 19 other players were targeted more. Welker had atleast 2 more drops than the other 19, therfore his drop percentage is higher than the other 19 receivers. I mean I know your NE homers, but cmon, common sense please! Also completion percentage and drop percentage are 2 completly diffrent stats.

  24. bozosforall says: May 18, 2011 1:39 PM

    knucklebucket says:
    May 18, 2011 11:34 AM
    bozosforall says:
    May 18, 2011 11:18 AM
    Waaaaahhhhhh!!!!

    Moooooommy, Rosenthal is picking on my Patriots again!

    Leave it to the biggest crybaby fan base in all of sports (the NE/Boston fan base) to whine once again about one of their players getting exposed for what he is, a system player.

    __________________________________

    Did you even read the article or are you just a hater that posts crap like this on every patriots story? Your ineptitude and lack of anything resembling knowledge is a glaring weakness in your statement. Although Wes may be considered a system player to some degree you seem to be ignoring one simple fact. The reason Belichick targeted Welker in 07 was because he was tired of being burned by him when he played for the Dolphins. Has playing with Brady elevated his game? Yes But the skill was there long before he came to New England.

    ______
    Thanks for exactly the crybaby response that I expected, knuckledragger. I also expected the “thumbs up/thumbs down” ratio to be about what it was, since we all know that Pats fans here mindlessly support anything and anyone pro-Pats and bash anyone here that roots for another team (and no, I’m not a Fins fan).

    BTW, Welker “burned” Belichick for a grand total of 14 receptions in 4 games as a Fin (and zero TDs). Hardly exhibiting that “skill” you so readily claim was there before becoming a Patriot. So thanks for showing YOUR ineptitude and lack of anything resembling knowledge in such a clear way that even your fellow dense Pats fans can see.

    I look forward to your next whine.

  25. CKL says: May 18, 2011 2:06 PM

    rabidbillsfan says: May 18, 2011 1:22 PM

    what the heck does Welkers leg injury have anything to do with him catching balls. Unless, like Rex, he catches them with his feet.
    ____________________________________
    On the off chance you’re serious instead of using that statement to set up a RR joke…WW relies on precision and quick cuts and if he either doesn’t or can’t trust his knee yet he isn’t going to be EXACTLY where he needs to be and may have to overcompensate to catch the ball. But…I still think it was more of a mental issue and maybe just a little physical. Most of us Pats fans weren’t even sure we’d see him at all last year and feared his quick cuts were a thing of the past. So he was amazing to me to be back on the field even close to full capacity.
    As far as an inferior CB covering him because he’s in the slot…dude what is this, 2003? Since the passing emphasis rules in the offseason in 04, teams have been loading up on quality CBs and emphasize pass coverage over physicality in safeties. The kind of DB WW has covering him now is better than even when he started in SD/Mia.

  26. knucklebucket says: May 18, 2011 2:18 PM

    bozosforall says:
    May 18, 2011 1:39 PM
    knucklebucket says:
    May 18, 2011 11:34 AM
    bozosforall says:
    May 18, 2011 11:18 AM
    Waaaaahhhhhh!!!!

    Moooooommy, Rosenthal is picking on my Patriots again!

    Leave it to the biggest crybaby fan base in all of sports (the NE/Boston fan base) to whine once again about one of their players getting exposed for what he is, a system player.

    __________________________________

    Did you even read the article or are you just a hater that posts crap like this on every patriots story? Your ineptitude and lack of anything resembling knowledge is a glaring weakness in your statement. Although Wes may be considered a system player to some degree you seem to be ignoring one simple fact. The reason Belichick targeted Welker in 07 was because he was tired of being burned by him when he played for the Dolphins. Has playing with Brady elevated his game? Yes But the skill was there long before he came to New England.

    ______
    Thanks for exactly the crybaby response that I expected, knuckledragger. I also expected the “thumbs up/thumbs down” ratio to be about what it was, since we all know that Pats fans here mindlessly support anything and anyone pro-Pats and bash anyone here that roots for another team (and no, I’m not a Fins fan).

    BTW, Welker “burned” Belichick for a grand total of 14 receptions in 4 games as a Fin (and zero TDs). Hardly exhibiting that “skill” you so readily claim was there before becoming a Patriot. So thanks for showing YOUR ineptitude and lack of anything resembling knowledge in such a clear way that even your fellow dense Pats fans can see.

    I look forward to your next whine.

    __________________________________

    Ever notice someone who accuses someone else of whining is usually the one whining himself?
    If you want to go by Welkers numbers in games against the Pats that’s fine. You clearly never watched the guy play. If you think he sucks, good for you. New England counts on mooks like you running teams who don’t want to give these guys a chance. I watched all of those games and regardless of what the numbers say, Belichick couldn’t stop him. Whether it was in clutch situations or drive saving catches, he was good. And like here he was not a TD machine. So enjoy watching whatever team it is that you root for and feel free to call this rant a whine.

  27. ianwhetstone says: May 18, 2011 2:19 PM

    “As far as an inferior CB covering him because he’s in the slot…dude what is this, 2003? Since the passing emphasis rules in the offseason in 04, teams have been loading up on quality CBs and emphasize pass coverage over physicality in safeties.”

    Do you think that a greater number of quality cornerbacks have magically become available to the teams since the rule emphasis? And even if they have–they haven’t, but we can run with it for sake of discussion–what does that have to do with being covered by linebackers, as Welker very often is?

    Welker sees considerably lesser coverage as compared to top receivers in the league, both because of how he is deployed and because of his own limitations. If anybody really wants to argue that he does not see lesser coverage, that strikes me as a lost conversation.

  28. bozosforall says: May 18, 2011 4:23 PM

    knucklebucket says:
    May 18, 2011 2:18 PM
    bozosforall says:
    May 18, 2011 1:39 PM
    knucklebucket says:
    May 18, 2011 11:34 AM
    bozosforall says:
    May 18, 2011 11:18 AM
    Waaaaahhhhhh!!!!

    Moooooommy, Rosenthal is picking on my Patriots again!

    Leave it to the biggest crybaby fan base in all of sports (the NE/Boston fan base) to whine once again about one of their players getting exposed for what he is, a system player.

    __________________________________

    Did you even read the article or are you just a hater that posts crap like this on every patriots story? Your ineptitude and lack of anything resembling knowledge is a glaring weakness in your statement. Although Wes may be considered a system player to some degree you seem to be ignoring one simple fact. The reason Belichick targeted Welker in 07 was because he was tired of being burned by him when he played for the Dolphins. Has playing with Brady elevated his game? Yes But the skill was there long before he came to New England.

    ______
    Thanks for exactly the crybaby response that I expected, knuckledragger. I also expected the “thumbs up/thumbs down” ratio to be about what it was, since we all know that Pats fans here mindlessly support anything and anyone pro-Pats and bash anyone here that roots for another team (and no, I’m not a Fins fan).

    BTW, Welker “burned” Belichick for a grand total of 14 receptions in 4 games as a Fin (and zero TDs). Hardly exhibiting that “skill” you so readily claim was there before becoming a Patriot. So thanks for showing YOUR ineptitude and lack of anything resembling knowledge in such a clear way that even your fellow dense Pats fans can see.

    I look forward to your next whine.

    __________________________________

    Ever notice someone who accuses someone else of whining is usually the one whining himself?
    If you want to go by Welkers numbers in games against the Pats that’s fine. You clearly never watched the guy play. If you think he sucks, good for you. New England counts on mooks like you running teams who don’t want to give these guys a chance. I watched all of those games and regardless of what the numbers say, Belichick couldn’t stop him. Whether it was in clutch situations or drive saving catches, he was good. And like here he was not a TD machine. So enjoy watching whatever team it is that you root for and feel free to call this rant a whine.

    ___
    Thanks for confirming to me and the rest of PFT that you and your fellow Pats buttkissers are the biggest whiners on the planet. Keep the “thumbs downs” coming, loser Pats fans.

  29. rabidbillsfan says: May 18, 2011 4:29 PM

    @ CKL

    On the off chance that you know what your talking about, I give you credit. I could understand if Welker was flat out not getting to the ball, but thats not the point some idiot posted earlier. The balls are getting to his hands, He’s just not pulling them in. Again, how does this relate to a leg injury? Whats he “over compensating”? The size of the ball? If he’s not where he’s supposed to be most of the time the ball won’t even hit him. I get it, he’s a “timing guy” but that has nothing to do with bringing a ball in when it’s in your hands, which results in a “drop”.

  30. bozosforall says: May 18, 2011 4:49 PM

    That would be correct, rabidbillsfan. If the ball hits him in the hands and he drops it, it’s a ‘drop’. If he doesn’t get to the ball in the first place due to his ‘leg injury’, the stats gurus won’t charge him with a drop in the first place. CKL is merely trying to spin something that has no basis in fact. Normal Boston sports fan BS.

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