Wes Welker is an unsigned free agent who has been designated as the Patriots’ franchise player, and he has said he doesn’t plan to participate in the team’s June minicamp if he hasn’t signed by then. One former Patriot, Willie McGinest, has a problem with that.
“I just don’t like the diva attitude,” McGinest said on NFL Network’s Total Access.
McGinest believes that, instead of expecting the Patriots to show him the money, Welker should be thankful that the Patriots have transformed him from a third receiver into a star.
“Let’s keep it real: Prior to the Patriots, this is a guy who played three years, had 96 receptions, never had a 1,000-yard season. So due to, in big part, the Patriots’ offensive system, and Tom Brady, he’s had five years with over 100 catches,” McGinest said. “A big part of that is due to the Patriots.”
And that means, McGinest says, Welker ought to sign the franchise tender and be thankful for it.
“This $9 million-plus that they’re offering is half of his last contract,” McGinest said. “That’s a lot of money. Let’s not forget that they signed Brandon Lloyd, they signed [Anthony Gonzalez], they signed [Deion] Branch back, they got the two tight ends; they have weapons on that offense. So look, Wes, it’s time to take off the leopard-printed cowboy boots, get off the party tour and get back to work. In my 12 years in New England, no matter how big you were, nobody said they weren’t coming to a mandatory minicamp. ”
But that’s where McGinest’s comments fall apart. For starters, the minicamp isn’t mandatory for unsigned players. There’s no such thing as “mandatory” for unsigned players. If you’re not under contract the team can’t tell you what to do.
Secondly, McGinest seems to think the Patriots have enough receivers that they don’t need Welker. But Bill Belichick obviously disagrees, because if the Patriots thought they didn’t need Welker, they’d yank the franchise tag. The Patriots are offering him a guaranteed base salary for this season of more than $9 million because they think he’s worth more than $9 million.
The reality is that Welker could command more on the open market than he’s being offered by the Patriots, and he’s doing what most people would do if offered less money than he knows he’s worth: He’s declining to accept the offer. That doesn’t make him a diva.