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Talk in New England that Welker, Lloyd could both be gone

Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker AP

There’s been a lot of talk about whether the Patriots will spend the money to keep wide receiver Wes Welker, who will become an unrestricted free agent in March if the Patriots don’t re-sign him or slap the franchise tag on him. There’s been less talk about whether the Patriots will spend the money to keep wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, who is due a $3 million bonus and a $1.9 million base salary this year.

But it’s entirely possible that both Welker and Lloyd could be gone: Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe runs through the Patriots’ options and concludes that the Patriots’ best bet is to let Welker walk and decline to pay the $3 million bonus to Lloyd, making him a free agent, too.

It might sound crazy that a team with a great passing attack like the Patriots would jettison their top two receivers, but New England has never been like most teams when it comes to keeping veterans around, and that’s especially true for expensive, aging veterans. And Welker and Lloyd will both turn 32 this offseason.

There’s also the fact that, even though Welker and Lloyd were first and second on the team in catches and receiving yards, the Patriots love to use tight ends in their passing game. New England has two tight ends, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, who are outstanding slot receivers, and a lot of people are overlooking that the Patriots also have tight end Jake Ballard, a starter on the Giants’ championship team of 2011, who missed all of 2012 with a torn ACL. If Ballard comes back healthy in 2013, the Patriots have three tight ends on their roster who would be the No. 1 tight end on a lot of teams. That gives them a lot of flexibility in their passing game.

Does it give them enough flexibility that they’d say goodbye to both of their starting wide receivers? That we don’t yet know. But it’s a possibility to keep an eye on this offseason.

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95 Responses to “Talk in New England that Welker, Lloyd could both be gone”
  1. jhein23 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:07 PM

    Percy Harvin and the Pats #1 pick will be the WRs who replace these guys.

  2. rfawns1 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:11 PM

    Ballard can’t be a #1 TE on a lot of teams get real

    Michael David Smith: Um, he was a #1 TE on a team that won a Super Bowl.

  3. skoobyfl says: Feb 10, 2013 5:12 PM

    Brady could pass to the waterboy & probably set records, it doesn’t really matter.

  4. sb44champs says: Feb 10, 2013 5:13 PM

    Pats don’t need their top 2 recievers when they have Goodell in their pockets..

  5. shzastl says: Feb 10, 2013 5:15 PM

    Getting rid of Welker seems crazy, not sure there are a lot of guys out there that would be as effective at what he does.

  6. somekat says: Feb 10, 2013 5:17 PM

    Don’t think Lloyd would be a big deal. IMO, he’s just a guy. There are 50 other guys out there that could do the same job.
    Welker is going to be much harder to replace. Yeah those tight ends are ridiculous, but that is being covered by linebackers, and missing a lot of doubles because teams are focused on Welker. The best tight ends ever are usually shut down pretty well by a bracket defense.
    Then again, the Pats have a nack of getting guys to come there for much less than what you think market value is, and since those TE’s are so good, you can bring less than elite WR’s in, and they will still look good. Between Brady and those TE’s taking away coverage (if they dont’ have an elite WR), those average guys get to work 1 on 1.
    Either way, unless Welker is looking for a ridiculous amount of money, I’d probably keep him if I were NE. But I don’t think they will, or they’d of taken care of him 2 years ago

  7. middy8484 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:17 PM

    That’s exactly right. Goofdlell is nothing more than a puppet for them. He needs to go. IMO the worst comm in the history of the league

  8. bradygirl12 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:19 PM

    It would be very painful to see Welker in any uniform other than the Patriots. I hate the idea of the Pats cutting him loose.

  9. rfawns1 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:20 PM

    Ballard can’t be a #1 TE on a lot of teams get real

    Michael David Smith: Um, he was a #1 TE on a team that won a Super Bowl.

    He had 38 catches and then was claimed off waivers and if he got to New England that means he passed through the whole league before he was claimed so stop it

    Michael David Smith: Dude, do you follow football at all? There are a lot of teams whose top tight end doesn’t have 38 catches. I guarantee you can’t name the top tight end on every NFL team, because if you could you would know that a lot of them aren’t as good as Ballard.

  10. citizenstrange says: Feb 10, 2013 5:20 PM

    Quarterbacks put receivers in the Pro Bowl and not the other way around. IMO … if Brady had been throwing to Santonio Holmes the past five years instead of Welker the numbers would have been mind boggling.

  11. patriots2120 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:26 PM

    If Welker is willing to come back at a cheaper rate ($7 M) a year, unlikely, but that would be great! But I think they are better off long-term to let both guys go, draft a WR or two, and sign a FA to bridge them for one year.

    You can’t spend money on these two guys when younger players need to be paid and kept this offseason (Vollmer, Talib) and next when Spikes becomes a FA….

    Dewayne Bowe would be nice, but might be too expensive….

    Thoughts?

  12. hwentworth says: Feb 10, 2013 5:26 PM

    Ready for some Willy Wonka style paranoid thinking? Ok, hang in there. What if Welker’s departure is part of a multiyear plan to usher out Brady a few years sooner than TB would like. Give him one less player to work with, facilitate the inevitable decline…

  13. anthonybjones says: Feb 10, 2013 5:28 PM

    Brady never put up huge numbers before Welker. It must be nice to have a guy that’s open by five yards on -every- -single- -play-. I’ve never seen him covered. Have you? His small space burst is stupid.

    I credit the coaching staff for seeing that Wes Welker was an asset when they picked him up from Miami. They’ve exploited defenses with his speed ever since. Now, they coaching staff is exploiting defenses with something that doesn’t diminish over time: size. The tight ends are tall, strong and fast enough to get open.

    They don’t /need/ Wes anymore, but more contested throws means more picks for Brady. This screen oriented passing game can’t work forever. Eventually, someone’s going to realize the Patriots are actually essentially RUNNING for 500 yards a game, and passing for 20…. right? Yeah I doubt it.

    Watching people slobber all over Brady’s knob is so annoying to witness. I’m going to try to NOT exaggerate, but I’d say 50% of his passes are screen passes. About 25% are crossing routes by a guy that’s always open (Welker). He throws… what… 5-6 contested passes per game?

    What I’m getting at is… The Patriots are always great because they always look for new ways to expose your defense. Unfortunately, BB forgot that he needs a defense that can adapt to other teams that do that.

    Seattle is the defensive revolution. Good, tall, cover corners and fast, ball-hawk safeties. Until BB gets his defense solved, the success of his team revolves completely around the gimmick that is the screen and underneath passing game.

    Drop Wes, run with 3 TE packages and heavy play action/run plays. Throw it up to Gronkowski in the end zone three times in a row from the 1 yard line. Sound familiar? Yeah, it sounds like the type of offense they ran when they actually won something.

  14. 410keith says: Feb 10, 2013 5:28 PM

    Let’em go. They won’t be losing anything.

  15. MTLighthouse69 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:30 PM

    So, you expect the Patriots to rely on Glasskowski a TE who couldn’t stay healthy the last two seasons, and during this past season was injured twice?

    You also want them to rely on Hernandez, from what I have seen he is as soft as tissue paper?

    Michael David Smith: The Patriots obviously disagree with you, because they’ve given big contracts to both Gronkowski and Hernandez.

  16. dallasux says: Feb 10, 2013 5:31 PM

    Welker without Brady = epitome of average. Dude isnt a scrub, but he wont put up numbers without a Stud QB getting him the rock. If I were him, I would take a massive pay cut to stay in NE rather than break the bank in KC or cleveland.

  17. negaduck says: Feb 10, 2013 5:33 PM

    “He had 38 catches and then was claimed off waivers and if he got to New England that means he passed through the whole league before he was claimed so stop it”

    its funny how much easier it is for a player to pass through waivers when his ACL is torn

  18. rfawns1 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:33 PM

    Ballard can’t be a #1 TE on a lot of teams get real

    Michael David Smith: Um, he was a #1 TE on a team that won a Super Bowl.

    He had 38 catches and then was claimed off waivers and if he got to New England that means he passed through the whole league before he was claimed so stop it

    Michael David Smith: Dude, do you follow football at all? There are a lot of teams whose top tight end doesn’t have 38 catches. I guarantee you can’t name the top tight end on every NFL team, because if you could you would know that a lot of them aren’t as good as Ballard.

    I can’t name everyone no but i can tell you right now that no team would say to themselves “well we have Ballard so we do not need to worry about getting better there” he is a fine player should be on a team and can start but he is a starter on maybe maybe a quarter of teams not ” A lot of teams” aas you stated he just is not..Players who can start for a lot of teams dont just fall through waivers to contenders like NE

    Michael David Smith: So now you’re agreeing with me — you think he could start on a quarter of the teams in the NFL.

  19. dabears2485 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:33 PM

    I have no doubt that, no matter what direction they go, Bill Belicheck and Tom Brady are all they need. I love watching Welker, and have respect for Lloyd, but the Patriots have proven over and over that they can be the best even when they let their veterans walk.

    And their veterans are never the same on their next teams. See: Vrabel, Cassel, Seymour, Gay, Meriweather, Deion Branch.

    The Patriots will roll on as long as they have the best coach/QB combination in the league.

  20. djteknision1200 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:35 PM

    Welker is valuble to NE for what they do but he wants number one receiver money. He is not a number one receiver on any other team. He needs to really think about. I’m sure someone will over pay for him but it won’t be NE.

  21. macker1283 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:40 PM

    I guarantee you that Belichick thinks that Edelman can be at least 75 percent as productive as Welker playing the same position at probably 15 percent of the price. Thats called value, and thats why I also think Welker won’t be with the team next year. I’d rather them give the money to a cornerback and hard hitting safety. The offense is never going to be a problem with Brady back there, it can only vary from great to very good depending on his supporting cast.

  22. bleedsoe9mm says: Feb 10, 2013 5:42 PM

    got to keep welker even if they don’t want to give him a long term deal , draft a guy to replace lloyd and hope he can take over in a year from welker

  23. MTLighthouse69 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:42 PM

    @ MDS,

    It wouldn’t be the first time that the Patriots threw money away when it came to their receiving corp. Chad Johnson was a bust for the Pats, granted he was a WR. He wasn’t the only bust during the Belichick era.

    Gronkowski (Glass) was signed long term last June. That was before his two injuries during this past season, and obviously after his injury from the season prior to his new contract. When healthy he is a great player. Key words are, when he is healthy.

    The Patriots would be foolish if they weren’t concerned about Gronkowski’s health

  24. nzayir says: Feb 10, 2013 5:46 PM

    The Patriots need a legitimate outside wide receiver I know it, you know it, and most importantly Belichick knows it.

    Lloyd is a very good player but the Patriots could do better and if there is a better option out there I don’t think they’ll hesitate to let Lloyd go.

    Welker is a tougher case, the Patriots have a glut of inside the numbers receiving options. Could a combination of Gronk, Hernandez, and Edelman replicate what Welker does? I think Hernandez more then anybody else can. He’s an ideal slot target, he has plenty of shifty moves and his route tree is expanding every season. Perhaps Brady and Hernandez can develop a strong chemistry between them this offseason and Hernandez could become Brady’s new safety
    blanket.

    All I know is that in the last two Super Bowls the Patriots have been in David Tyree and Mario Manningham made incredible catches to help their quarterback out and eventually they won a championship for it. For too long Brady has had to be perfect or the Patriots end up losing he needs a receiver who can help him out by making some plays outside the numbers for him.

  25. adkfootballfan says: Feb 10, 2013 5:47 PM

    The Pats are going to let Welker walk (no pun intended) as his cap charge would prohibit them from signing other players such as Vollmer and Talib.

    Given Lloyd’s relationship with McDaniels I’d forecast a restructure. If those pieces are in place they’re still missing Y and Z receivers with LLoyd filling the X role.

    So, there’s the draft, trade or free-agent signings to fill these roles…

  26. nflovercollegefb says: Feb 10, 2013 5:47 PM

    The Patriots also have some interesting pieces at RB with Vereen and Woodhead who fit very well with their screen and short passing attack, Edelemen will be healthy as well.

    If the dollars don’t make sense, let Lloyd and Welker go (and would hate to Welker go from a personal standpoint).

    Maybe they make a play for Percy Harvin and draft a couple WR’s in the mid-later rounds, that 1st round pick needs to be used on the secondary.

  27. timmons94 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:49 PM

    as a Steelers fan, how can u question hoodie ??? All u haters saying trading Moss was stupid…People tend to forget, yes it has been 8 yrs since last title, but one of luckiest catches ever and a drop by Welker, although not easiest catch, and Pats have 5 rings….young d that will get better…Never question BB, love that guy…Welker is a HOF..but Edelman can fill that role..Pats will win AFC East in 2013 and will be in running for home field or 2nd seed

  28. steel6curtain says: Feb 10, 2013 5:50 PM

    when brady is your QB it doesnt matter who he throws to

  29. macker1283 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:51 PM

    I wouldn’t mind Lloyd if he didn’t fall down the second he catches a pass.

  30. nflrocks says: Feb 10, 2013 5:53 PM

    So the Patriots won’t sign Llyod or Welker because they cost to much.

    But last year Manningham got 7 mil for 2 years and Laurent Robinson got 32 mill for 5.

    Has the market dried up?

    I hope they loose their players to other teams..

    I don’t think this cap is working out positiviely for the players…

    Veterans are not getting paid as teams go after the cheaper rookie contracts.

  31. narfmoo12 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:54 PM

    as a Steelers fan, how can u question hoodie ??? All u haters saying trading Moss was stupid…People tend to forget, yes it has been 8 yrs since last title, but one of luckiest catches ever and a drop by Welker, although not easiest catch, and Pats have 5 rings….young d that will get better…Never question BB, love that guy…Welker is a HOF..but Edelman can fill that role..Pats will win AFC East in 2013 and will be in running for home field or 2nd seed

    —————————

    You won 3 Super Bowls by 9 points. I’d calm down on the what ifs because they could just as easily have gone the other direction and you’d have won 0 Super Bowls instead of 3 or 5.

  32. tincansailor981 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:57 PM

    I can’t stand bell check or the patriots, but I do admire their business sense. They’ll cut anyone at any time and won’t think twice about it. That’s how they stay successful.

  33. newyorkfootballjets says: Feb 10, 2013 5:58 PM

    Yeah just like when Boss was a # 1 te or shockey, manning made them look better then they were. Same will go for ballard ohh and look what manning did for dude from dallas(cant remember his name) but manning also made him look like a #1

  34. blackandbluedivision says: Feb 10, 2013 5:59 PM

    Brady won three Super Bowls with WR’s nobody remembers. I’m sure he can adjust.

    Brady made Welker. Just like any Patriot WR ever, he’ll be a scrub with any other team.

  35. blackandbluedivision says: Feb 10, 2013 6:00 PM

    Welker would look good in a Baltimore uniform.

  36. legeisyaj says: Feb 10, 2013 6:04 PM

    Keep welker.
    Let Lloyd go.
    Done.

  37. harrisonhits2 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:04 PM

    Welker would be a big loss and Lloyd a lesser one but a loss as well.

    What a lot of people seem to be forgetting is WR is probably the worst position for Belichick drafts. Receiver is the position he’s had the most busts from draft picks at.

    They’ve also had problems with several veteran receivers being unable to learn the playbook very well. The Pats offense is a quite complicated and several receivers that had been pretty good on other teams came to the Pats and just plain sucked.

    Welker is a pretty smart guy and has probably been wise with his money. If he can avoid letting his agent make him as greedy as possible then the Pats can retain him I think.

  38. Mr. Wright 212 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:04 PM

    Their offense centers on Brady, the tight ends and a scat back. You saw after the squabbles last year that Welker was not getting extended beyond 2012. They have had a revolving door at WR for years. Lloyd is just the next one on line in that rotation.

  39. nite2al says: Feb 10, 2013 6:05 PM

    Welker, HOF, lol. He is product of the system. If he gets traded, that will be the end of him, not every team has 5 yard pass plays.

  40. agehustler says: Feb 10, 2013 6:05 PM

    lets see..

    NE – he woud be the 3rd TE
    Buffalo – he would start
    Jets – he would be more consistent then Keller
    Miami – is it still sal fasano?
    Pitt – Behind Heath miller
    Bal – Dennis Pitta takes it, and i dislike the ravens
    Cle – Ballard would take it
    Cin – Gresham is probably better
    Ind – they have 2 young guys.. Ballard wouldnt even get signed
    Hou – Owen Daniels would start
    Jax – Ballard prob takes it here
    SD – Gates is better but if ballard can stay healthier, he could be more productive
    KC – I dont believe in moiaki or however you spell it.. Ballard wins here
    Den – Peyton makes anyone look good, but i believe Ballard to be better than Tamme
    Oak – Ballard… no question
    Was – He starts if Fred Davis doesnt get healthy/return
    Dal – Witten over Ballard
    Phi – Celek over Ballard
    NYG – Ballard + Bennett if he returns is a push
    GB – ill take jermichael
    Det – ill take pettigrew
    Chi – Ballard takes it
    Minn – Ballard>Rudolph
    Car – Ballard
    Atl – if gonzalez returns then its no contest
    NO – Graham
    TB – Ballard..
    Sea – Ballard..
    SF – Vernon Davis
    STL – Ballard takes it
    Ari – Ballard takes it.

    this is all assuming Ballard will be healthy and back to form. so i would have to say he could start for over half the leagues TE’s

  41. sadie753 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:11 PM

    What has Ballard truly done to make him number one worthy? Come on man!!!

    Michael David Smith: You should ask that to Tom Coughlin, the person who made Ballard the starting tight end on the Giants when they won the Super Bowl a year ago.

  42. ravensallday2012 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:13 PM

    Can’t brat the ravens so it don’t matter who they have. And steeler fans shouldn’t comment they r not even competitive anymore.

  43. packerman1968 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:14 PM

    The Patriot receivers are a product of the system.

  44. sadskinsfan89 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:14 PM

    I almost wanna talk bad about ballard to get a response from MDS.

  45. dynaco says: Feb 10, 2013 6:15 PM

    Good riddence. Now maybe Welk can get that ellusive ring.

  46. packerman1968 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:16 PM

    You guys need to remove that report button or put it some place else.

    I have click on it twice now, and I did not mean too.

  47. rajbais says: Feb 10, 2013 6:16 PM

    Lloyd is a douche!!! He can go!!! I cannot believe that guy said that he was the best receiver in the NFL after the 2010 season. It’s also pretty unfortunate to hear that she he claimed to model model himself after Torry Holt after being a Rams intern in college, but he is nothing like Holt.

    As for Welker it would hurt the Pats’ passing game, but Belichick might feel his running game helps his defense and thus they can win a title.

  48. rfawns1 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:19 PM

    Ballard can’t be a #1 TE on a lot of teams get real

    Michael David Smith: Um, he was a #1 TE on a team that won a Super Bowl.

    He had 38 catches and then was claimed off waivers and if he got to New England that means he passed through the whole league before he was claimed so stop it

    Michael David Smith: Dude, do you follow football at all? There are a lot of teams whose top tight end doesn’t have 38 catches. I guarantee you can’t name the top tight end on every NFL team, because if you could you would know that a lot of them aren’t as good as Ballard.

    I can’t name everyone no but i can tell you right now that no team would say to themselves “well we have Ballard so we do not need to worry about getting better there” he is a fine player should be on a team and can start but he is a starter on maybe maybe a quarter of teams not ” A lot of teams” aas you stated he just is not..Players who can start for a lot of teams dont just fall through waivers to contenders like NE

    Michael David Smith: So now you’re agreeing with me — you think he could start on a quarter of the teams in the NFL.

    8 teams or less is not a lot of teams which you stated.. 31 TE’s had 38 or more catches last year so yeah he is nothing special he is better then me i am sure but i am no good…no more responses i assume so you just delete our convo now come on man

  49. giantssb42champs says: Feb 10, 2013 6:19 PM

    As a giants fan, I hope they keep “Dropsy” Welker in case they meet us in the SB again.

  50. cawood68 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:21 PM

    I love it when mds fires back wish we would see more of it

  51. ijahru says: Feb 10, 2013 6:22 PM

    Brady won 3 SBs without Welker and lost 2 with him. I love Wes and would love it if he resigns but I am a Patriots fan first and foremost and if moving on from Wes makes them a better team then I am all for the move. Personally I would love to see them go big at WR like San Diego did. We have RBs that can run the underneath routes if the big guys are going deep.

  52. chi01town says: Feb 10, 2013 6:25 PM

    Welker in Chicago with Marshall.. Ashlon Jeffrey and Forte sounds SUPER to me. BUT CHICAGO will have to up grade the O-line first.
    Emery has his work cut out. the team was 10-6 now he needs at least 11-5 and a deep playoff run to keep the fans in Chicago out his hair

  53. joemontanawasthegreatest says: Feb 10, 2013 6:25 PM

    Welker is most valuable to the Pats, I don’t see him getting a huge contract elsewhere. On a side note he drops a lot of passes in the playoffs.

    With Welker, 0 Superbowl wins.

  54. fearthehoody says: Feb 10, 2013 6:25 PM

    As a Pats fan I dont mind Lloyd leaving. I mean, has anyone seen this guy stay on his feet after a catch? Dude has zero YAC on the season!

  55. timmons94 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:28 PM

    ravensallday2012..
    lol…make us shut up…enjoy your 1 and done for years to come…
    will that statue have Ray Ray holding a knife ???

  56. ijahru says: Feb 10, 2013 6:28 PM

    “Welker, HOF, lol. He is product of the system. If he gets traded, that will be the end of him, not every team has 5 yard pass plays.”

    Wasn’t Jerry Rice a product of the system ran in San Fran?

  57. TheWizard says: Feb 10, 2013 6:31 PM

    I wouldn’t mind Lloyd if he didn’t fall down the second he catches a pass

    Well, he did replace Deion Branch, so he obviously tried to emulate him.

    Love the MDS interjections, but are we liking/disliking the original post or the smackdown reply?

    Brady / Welker make those 5 yard slants look easy, but if Wes goes somewhere else you’ll see it’s not so easy after all.

  58. darth71 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:33 PM

    Welker to Baltimore? Not a chance after his chickenhead wife ran her mouth about Ray Lewis. Keep your trick in check , Wes.

  59. scrummymustard says: Feb 10, 2013 6:33 PM

    This is an assumption that he even gets back to being healthy. He is an AVERAGE TE regardless….

    NE – he woud be the 3rd TE
    Buffalo – he would start – Debatable over Chandler
    Jets – he would be more consistent then Keller —very debatable, they have both been injured
    Miami – is it still sal fasano — yes Fasano and Clay, Ballard prob takes it
    Pitt – Behind Heath miller
    Bal – Dennis Pitta takes it, and i dislike the ravens
    Cle – Ballard would take it —Watson and him are close
    Cin – Gresham is probably better — Gresham would start
    Ind – they have 2 young guys.. Ballard wouldnt even get signed
    Hou – Owen Daniels would start
    Jax – Ballard prob takes it here —-Lewis would start
    SD – Gates is better but if ballard can stay healthier, he could be more productive?? makes no sense
    KC – I dont believe in moiaki or however you spell it.. Ballard wins here —- they both have been hurt, hypotheticals hypotheticals
    Den – Peyton makes anyone look good, but i believe Ballard to be better than Tamme —can’t argue, but its not a huge upgrade
    Oak – Ballard… no question —- myers had 79 catches and that putrid offense, not a no question
    Was – He starts if Fred Davis doesnt get healthy/return —- BALLARD isnt even healthy! When healthy davis>>>>>ballard
    Dal – Witten over Ballard
    Phi – Celek over Ballard
    NYG – Ballard + Bennett if he returns is a push —- bennett takes it
    GB – ill take jermichael
    Det – ill take pettigrew
    Chi – Ballard takes it —- correct
    Minn – Ballard>Rudolph —- you are out of your mind, ballard doesn’t touch rudolph
    Car – Ballard—- NO CHANCE olsen by a far margin
    Atl – if gonzalez returns then its no contest
    NO – Graham
    TB – Ballard..— clark and ballard are close but ballard has youth
    Sea – Ballard…—-NO both miller and mccoy are better
    SF – Vernon Davis
    STL – Ballard takes it – can’t really argue, kendricks has been a disappointment
    Ari – Ballard takes it. — i think i’d take housler’s upside over him

    this is all assuming Ballard will be healthy and back to form. so i would have to say he could start for over half the leagues TE’s…..—agree to disagree, he wouldn’t start for over half the teams. He is vastly overrated bc he is on a super bowl winning team. His stats or potential don’t back up that he could be a starter on over half the teams.

  60. pcoz99 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:37 PM

    R-A-N-D-Y!!!!

  61. mjc10 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:39 PM

    The longer Welker stays in NE, the less he seems like he fits the fold IMO.

    My guess: Amendola

  62. realdealsteel says: Feb 10, 2013 6:41 PM

    Blah, blah, blah,..

    Until they get a real WR that can strecth the field and that Brady can connect with, they will be just spinning their wheels.

    Ravens showed everyone that if you stay near the line of scrimmage and just hit everybody in a 15 yard radius, they Patriots passing game goes away. Patriots have been exposed.

    Get a real vertical passing game and get back with the rest of us. Both the Ravens and Steelers have shown how to handle the Patriots.

  63. hartleechung says: Feb 10, 2013 6:44 PM

    Let me help the Patriots out here…stop geting cute and just resign Welker.

  64. bbrophy1 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:44 PM

    When teams doubled Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, Ballard came up big every time. Martellus Bennett struggled to duplicate that this year. Ballard was only put on waivers because of his knee injury. The Giants didn’t want to stash him and the Patriots did.

  65. rfawns1 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:47 PM

    This is an assumption that he even gets back to being healthy. He is an AVERAGE TE regardless….

    NE – he woud be the 3rd TE
    Buffalo – he would start – Debatable over Chandler
    Jets – he would be more consistent then Keller —very debatable, they have both been injured
    Miami – is it still sal fasano — yes Fasano and Clay, Ballard prob takes it
    Pitt – Behind Heath miller
    Bal – Dennis Pitta takes it, and i dislike the ravens
    Cle – Ballard would take it —Watson and him are close
    Cin – Gresham is probably better — Gresham would start
    Ind – they have 2 young guys.. Ballard wouldnt even get signed
    Hou – Owen Daniels would start
    Jax – Ballard prob takes it here —-Lewis would start
    SD – Gates is better but if ballard can stay healthier, he could be more productive?? makes no sense
    KC – I dont believe in moiaki or however you spell it.. Ballard wins here —- they both have been hurt, hypotheticals hypotheticals
    Den – Peyton makes anyone look good, but i believe Ballard to be better than Tamme —can’t argue, but its not a huge upgrade
    Oak – Ballard… no question —- myers had 79 catches and that putrid offense, not a no question
    Was – He starts if Fred Davis doesnt get healthy/return —- BALLARD isnt even healthy! When healthy davis>>>>>ballard
    Dal – Witten over Ballard
    Phi – Celek over Ballard
    NYG – Ballard + Bennett if he returns is a push —- bennett takes it
    GB – ill take jermichael
    Det – ill take pettigrew
    Chi – Ballard takes it —- correct
    Minn – Ballard>Rudolph —- you are out of your mind, ballard doesn’t touch rudolph
    Car – Ballard—- NO CHANCE olsen by a far margin
    Atl – if gonzalez returns then its no contest
    NO – Graham
    TB – Ballard..— clark and ballard are close but ballard has youth
    Sea – Ballard…—-NO both miller and mccoy are better
    SF – Vernon Davis
    STL – Ballard takes it – can’t really argue, kendricks has been a disappointment
    Ari – Ballard takes it. — i think i’d take housler’s upside over him

    this is all assuming Ballard will be healthy and back to form. so i would have to say he could start for over half the leagues TE’s…..—agree to disagree, he wouldn’t start for over half the teams. He is vastly overrated bc he is on a super bowl winning team. His stats or potential don’t back up that he could be a starter on over half the teams.

    Thank you

  66. hor2012 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:55 PM

    I’m not a Pats fan but I think they should let both of them go. I agree with one of the earlier post, I think the Ravens exposed the Pats. When the Pats go to thier spread concepts if the braket the TEs and man up against the WRs you can slow the Pats passing attack. That’s exactly what the Ravens did and except for one blow coverage that allowed Welker to get free down the field, the Ravens won ever man to man battle with the Pats. It is a absoulute must that the Pats get a true number 1 receiver are you going to begin to see the decline of Brady has a elite QB. My bet is BB already knows this. And, he’s looking at Bowe in KC or the draft to find a WR

  67. thestatsishere says: Feb 10, 2013 7:12 PM

    I say keep Lloyd for certain and try to make a reasonable contract with Welker. This team is THIS close to being in the Super Bowl again. And it took them so long to get a guy like Lloyd who can stretch the field.

  68. lunchbox92 says: Feb 10, 2013 7:14 PM

    Having two or three decent tight ends doesn’t really matter if you don’t have any receivers the defense has to worry about.

  69. volcom2143 says: Feb 10, 2013 7:21 PM

    Hey mr smith. I just wanna say your the man for writing replies to ignorant people who clearly have no clue what they are talking about . I respect that . Thanks for keeping it real on PFT .

  70. rockislander says: Feb 10, 2013 7:35 PM

    OMG this is just a stupid article. ‘Talk in New England’ is just 1 reporter ‘thinking’ what they should do. Some of his alternatives are just plain stupid. The Patriots are not going to let all of these guys walk. Some, yes I’m sure. But all? No way. It’s just one reporter’s opinion. Stupid.

  71. taintedsaints2009 says: Feb 10, 2013 7:38 PM

    Percy Harvin is the perfect fit for the Patriots offense. Belicheck wanted to draft him.

    Harvin is the best athlete in the league when he can make it on the field. He is also a ticking time bomb.

  72. bigwii says: Feb 10, 2013 7:50 PM

    It’s been a long time coming the Patriots are run by some of the smartest people on the NFL they see everything coming way before any of us do especially with money it starts with Kraft down why do you think they have been good for so long anyway it’s time for a new era it started with rebuilding the defense now they’re going to rebuild the offense it started with the RBs now its the receivers they need to get younger so in a couple years when they replace Brady there will be young receivers to usher in the next young QB. He will have a good defense…yes I said that it will get better. They will have a strong run game and good receivers and TEs everything a young QB needs to be successful. So I think this is just the beginning the Pats were never going to go for a full rebuild like everyone else when they lose their star player like the Colts lol they are rebuilding slowly throughout time and still being competitive. I think a former Gator like Percy Harvin would be a great start and great replacement really the only legit replacement for Welker I think they should pick him up along with a receiver or 2 in the draft and resign Edelman and maybe a free agent. Also release Tebow he would be a good fit not at QB but if anyone can use him the right way it’s Hoodie

  73. bigjimatch says: Feb 10, 2013 7:51 PM

    The Pats may let Welker go because of his age and contract demands, but I think people underestimate his contributions. Brady was a clutch, efficient passer before the Pats signed Welker, but after Welker came Brady became prolific. At first, I thought it was Moss more that Welker, but Moss hasn’t done anything since his last year with the Pats and Welker has consistently continued to produce. As far as pluging any reciecer in with Brady, the Pats have burned through receivers doing that since Moss left, including Lloyd (who was supposed to have a breakout year with Brady and McDaniels), and none have had great success. In fact, I think getting Lloyd, who had success in the past, was and admission that they can’t bring in any receiver to plug into the system.

    Despite a couple of high profile drops, Walker makes some amazing catches, hardly ever fumbles, and gets tremendous yards after catch. If you think Ballard is going to make up for that simply because he was the starter (but not a star) for the Giants when they won the Superbowl, well OK. You could pencil Welker in for 120 catches and 1200 yards – how close do you think Ballard, or any other generic “system receiver” will come to replacing that?

    The Pats obviously believe in Gronk and Hernandez, but that doesn’t mean Gonk’s injury history issues, both before getting drafted (which is why he wasn’t drafted in the first round) and after, and Hernandez’s general nontoughness are not big issues. If you think the Pats aren’t concerned about injury issues with both contracts, your nuts. Also, the league is going to somewhat catch up with the pass catching TE with defensive personell as every team tries to emulate the Pats and Saints. That doesn’t mean they wont be effective, but it not going to be as easy as throwing Gronk the ball and watch him barrel over 5’11″ defensive backs. Also, how many tight ends is the team going to carry and how much cap space are they going to devote to it? As for ignoring the WR position and relying on a lot of three or four tight end set, the Pats basically ignored corners and defensive backs and its not like that has come back to bite the hoodie, right?

  74. egomaniac247 says: Feb 10, 2013 7:52 PM

    To the dude that said Ballard > Kyle Rudolph ……cmon maaaaan

  75. bartlettruss says: Feb 10, 2013 7:58 PM

    How long before you post that this was never a story at all?

  76. der6495 says: Feb 10, 2013 8:20 PM

    Lloyd was brought in to stretch the field, he didn’t do that.

    I think if they retain Edelman and let Welker go, take the money and sign or draft somebody that can stretch the field.

    Having all these weapons that can only run routes <10 yards won't get you past teams that dare you to throw deep.

  77. der6495 says: Feb 10, 2013 8:24 PM

    Tavon Austin would also be a nice replacement for Welker. Quickness plus dynamic speed that their entire WR corps lacks.

  78. ampats says: Feb 10, 2013 8:33 PM

    As much as I would hate to see Welker leave he already turned down 8+ mill on a multiyear deal was reported.

    I can definitely envision a sign and trade with Percy Harvin. Player needs a change of enviorment, and Belichick oves his Gator playmakers.

    I just hope Tim Tebow does not also come to NE in the future.

  79. patssteelersorgiants says: Feb 10, 2013 8:55 PM

    Anyone can be popped into BB’s system with Brady. Welker will never be heard from again on another team. Lloyd is even more expendable. Can’t wait to see Pats do first 5 TE set.

  80. kcchiefsfandave says: Feb 10, 2013 9:03 PM

    So Ballard was on a Giants team that won the Super Bowl. I believe Kevin Boss was also and he probably wouldn’t start over Tony Moeaki if he was healthy.

    Point is Ballard wouldn’t start over the majority of starting tight ends in the league.

    Ballard has a lot to prove if he ever gets a chance to catch a pass with the Pats.

  81. nashz84 says: Feb 10, 2013 9:14 PM

    It would be nice to see to what would happen if Tom hardy has a true #1 WR to throw to ,, o wait he did that one year when moss was a beast end they went 16-0 reg season , give Tom a WR

  82. j0esixpack says: Feb 10, 2013 9:25 PM

    I love Welker, but what had previously set Welker apart from all others was his ability to make the “must” catch.

    The past two years he’s missed those catches when they counted most.

    If Belichick feels the slot is well covered with 3 starting caliber TEs then it makes sense to put the money that would have gone to Welker and Lloyd to a true #1 deep threat WR

  83. swagger52 says: Feb 10, 2013 9:43 PM

    Why bother with a WR. Brady can’t throw the deep ball. Brady’s long passes are 5 yard slants or screens to Welker and Gronkowski with long runs after the catch. If they lose Welker, they better find somebody with Steel balz to catch the ball over the middle. Welker does all the dirty work, gets no credit, and has prolonged Brady’s career.

  84. yourmox says: Feb 10, 2013 9:54 PM

    I find it really odd the author of this article is defending his reach of a statement that Ballard is a #1 TE on a lot of teams. He wasn’t the #1 TE on the Giants superbowl team – he was a backup who got in because of injury.

    He is a young TE who had a good 1/2 season 2 years ago and should have many more years in the NFL – but he’s nothing more than a serviceable NFL TE. Nobody is clamoring to get this guy compared to the dynamic pass catching TE’s like Gronk/Hernandez/Davis.

  85. tunescribe says: Feb 10, 2013 10:20 PM

    This is pure speculation by a newspaper reporter without anything from the Patriots, the players’ agents, or even an anonymous source. Just his ideas on what he would do re., the 2013 cap.

  86. Patskrieg dot com says: Feb 10, 2013 10:28 PM

    The Welker situation is too close to call, and anyone who thinks they’ve got the answer is kidding themselves.

    As far as Lloyd, I don’t think too many people in New England would be crying if he left. He’s a good wideout, but he left 100+ yards on the field but never (ever) trying for extra yards. At times you almost felt like he was inventing ways to get to the ground so he wouldn’t have to try for RAC yards. The Patriot way involves a certain killer instinct that, sadly enough, Welker embodies to perfection.

  87. reggiebush22 says: Feb 10, 2013 10:30 PM

    Remember, Belichick thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room. How many Lombardi’s has he won recently? Brady only dinks and dunks his throws anyway.

  88. truetrue85 says: Feb 10, 2013 10:35 PM

    After the stats Brandon Lloyd produced in Josh McDaniels’ system in Denver and St. Louis while catching passes from guys like Kyle Orton and Sam Bradford, he was very disappointing this season. The guy has either lost a step, or he and Brady just don’t click… either way he’s not worth the money he’s due. Wes Welker on the other hand just seems to keep on ticking, so I have no problem with the Patriots giving him a nice 3 year deal for him to finish his career in Foxborough.

  89. oldcat157 says: Feb 10, 2013 11:21 PM

    Lol, stop making references that because the Giants won the Superbowl therefore Ballard is good. Bad logic. They won without him.

  90. ravenseattheirownpoop says: Feb 11, 2013 8:53 AM

    Maybe they should re-think the Patriot Way. They haven’t won a Super Bowl in years and Brady isn’t getting any younger. He’s one good hit from retirement.
    They cheapest way isn’t always the best way!

  91. charleythedinosaur says: Feb 11, 2013 8:57 AM

    I don’t think Ballard will be much more than a very good backup for Gronk or Hernandez when one gets injured. We’ve seen how stale and lost the offense can look when one of them goes down.

    As for Welker I say let him walk and resign Edelman. Edelman can drop Super Bowl clenching passes just as well as Welker. Use the savings to sign Wallace, Bowe, or trade for Harvin.

  92. jgava19 says: Feb 11, 2013 9:08 AM

    Welcome to Indy, Wes.

  93. pillowporkers says: Feb 11, 2013 9:58 AM

    Also, people that think Welker was at fault for that drop in the Super Bowl are crazy as well. Brady hurt his shoulder on the Tuck sack. Everyone knew it. It was night and day after that, and he was seen grimacing on the sideline. Welker was WIDE OPEN and had to make a ridiculous adjustment to even have a chance at that ball. That is coming from a guy who has a lot of friends who are Patriots fans, who know that wasn’t Welker’s fault as well.

  94. steelerben says: Feb 11, 2013 10:33 AM

    Isn’t Brian Hartline going to be a free agent? And there is Edelman and Woodhead, as well. If the Pats are looking for a small, quick slot guy, those are all cheaper options than Welker.

    Replacing Lloyd won’t be overly difficult. He’s only ever really produced under McDaniels and hasn’t always been stellar at that. There will be options third or fourth round in the draft that will be as productive.

    Going out and over spending on someone is not something the Patriots ever do. No chance they are going to let Welker walk and then spend the kind of money it is going to take to land a Bowe or Wallace.

  95. CKL says: Feb 11, 2013 11:49 AM

    I typed out a long non nasty response yesterday and today it’s gone. That gets old, since there is no guideline of what is acceptable for us to follow.

    Anyway, WW is not a system player. He is a player whose skills are used perfectly in the Pats offense. There’s a difference. System players I think of as decent players whose systems mask their lack of top level skill. Pats had one of those (Adalius Thomas).

    Adn TB’s air yards traveled per pass were higher than Stafford’s and Flacco’s. So while the Pats offense does revolve mostly around the intermediate pass, it’s not like TB stands there and throws smoke routes and bubble screens all day. His best passes are the intermediate ones where you have to be quick to read the D and very accurate. Why not do most of what your QB/other skill players are good at?

    What they need to do regardless of WR corps is get their RBs more involved in the passing game, more like they did with Weis. The Pats have Vereen who looks promising there and possibly Demps.

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