Posted by Josh Katzowitz
It’s no stretch to say that Wes Welker is one of the top receivers in the NFL. His 740 receiving yards leads the league by a whopping 131 yards over the No. 2 Steve Smith, and his league-leading 45 catches through five games puts him on pace for, oh, 297 catches -- which, of course, would be a record (actually, he’s on pace for 144, which also puts him one ahead of Marvin Harrison’s record total of 143 in 2002).
But it’s interesting to think about how Welker would perform if he didn’t play in the Patriots offense and didn’t have a Hall of Fame quarterback throwing passes his way. After all, he didn’t set the league on fire when he played for the Dolphins from 2004-06.
We bring this up because of Welker’s claim that he wants to stay a Patriots player after his contract expires following this season.
“Well, of course I want to stay here, but as of right now, I don’t really think about it," Welker said earlier this week, via the Sporting News. "I think we have a great owner and great coaches and they have put together a model for us to go out there and succeed. Anytime you’re a part of that, it’s a pretty special thing."
Agreed, but you also have to wonder if the Patriots will want to give Welker a huge long-term extension. Before next season, he’ll have turned 31, and though that isn’t the death call for a receiver, the Patriots might not want to make him a four-year commitment either (although he is only making a $2.15 million base salary, which is ridiculous considering his production).
And as we all know, New England isn’t afraid to get rid of a veteran player, no matter how much he’s helped the team, if Bill Belichick thinks he’s outlived his usefulness to the organization.
Obviously, Welker isn’t going to find a better quarterback to play catch with than Tom Brady. He readily admitted that this week when he was asked if he could ever hope to find the same kind of chemistry with another quarterback that he has built with Brady. Welker said, "There’s no way I would."
So, maybe Welker really should try his best to break the record. Because even if the Patriots aren’t interested in retaining his services, there’s no doubt at least half the league would be trying to get his cell phone digits once he becomes a free agent. Even if he’ll lose the chemistry he has with Brady, he’ll get a ton of money instead.
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