|As we all know, divas typically don't wear camouflage hats. (Getty Images)|
If somebody called Wes Welker a “diva” just because he hasn't signed the franchise tag placed him on by the Patriots, I'd think it might be a joke. I mean, the audacity of someone to utter that word is laughable. I mean, really … wait … somebody did?
“I just don't like the diva attitude,” said Willie McGinest, who played in New England from 1994 to 2005 and is a current NFL analyst (via NFL.com). “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. …
“This $9 million-plus that they're offering is half of his last contract. That's a lot of money. Let's not forget that they signed Brandon Lloyd, they signed (WR Anthony Gonzalez), they signed (WR 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.”
That actually is laughable, right?
For the record, Welker has averaged 111 catches per season for the last five years (by far more than anybody else in the NFL) and has led the league in receptions in three of those seasons. During that time, he's made four Pro Bowls, and all the while, he's been underpaid. Now that he's 31, how could McGinest criticize Welker for trying to cash in one perhaps the last (and only) big contract of his career?
“Through my body of work, through the past five years, I think what I've done -- I've earned a long-term deal," Welker recently told ESPN Boston. "It's what I am looking for and what I want. Hopefully that's the case, and hopefully we come to something where we can make that happen."
If Welker signs the franchise tag, the Patriots would owe him $9.5 million for 2012. Welker has said he wants to stay in New England -- which apparently had offered him $16 million for two years -- but he also wants that long-term security.
"Toward the end next season if we're still in the same spot it's going to be the same scenario again. I'll be sitting on another winning lottery ticket and all I have to do is stay healthy through the next year," Welker said. "It's kind of hard as a player because you just want to go out there and play and be able to do everything you want to do and play well and not worry about getting hurt or getting injured. Just go out there and enjoy the game and play it to the best of your ability and not have those worries."
Welker, so far, hasn't shown up for Patriots offseason workouts, though it sounds like Welker doesn't plan on holding out for the season. But he obviously heard what McGinest had to say. Which is why he fired out this tweet Wednesday afternoon.
McGinest's reponse: “My point exactly. We're all expendable at Patriot Place.”
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