With free agency only four days away, it appears as though the neverending contract dispute that is the relationship between Wes Welker and the Patriots is finally coming to a head. In an impassioned open letter my colleague Cole Stevenson made a request to Wes Welker, with the hopes that he put his pride to the side and sign at a rate that works for both sides. He raised an excellent point, noting that Welker was somewhat of a non-factor in the NFL up to his joining the New England Patriots. That being said, I have to disagree with him in his expecting Welker to take a pay cut to stay a Patriot.
I for one have had enough of the Patriots expecting everybody to take massive pay cuts for the “privilege” to play for their storied franchise. I am even more disgruntled by the fact that people are under the belief that Tom Brady took a pay cut. I could go into full detail about his contract extension, but in short he did not take a pay cut. Not by any stretch of the imagination. What he did was move salary around in way that cleared space for the Patriots. Even more peculiar is that he is actually going to make more money than originally slated to as a result of this apparently magnanimous act. A working class hero, is something to be, right Brady?
Welker has already swallowed his pride to play as a Patriot. Think he was happy about playing on the franchise tag? All he wanted was a long term deal, commensurate with his production. Say what you will of his playing for Brady as being the main factor in his consistently elite level of play, but we can’t forget that for every Wes Welker there is a Brandon Lloyd. It’s not like Welker was toiling in a backup role, getting 200 yards a season leading up to his being a Patriot. He put together two relatively productive seasons leading up to his change of scenery. Not dazzling, but quietly and progressively productive.
At 32 years old Welker is not getting any younger. He’s made more than his fair share of financial sacrifices to play with the Patriots, and it is now his time to get paid. If not now, when? He’s in the back nine of his career, and it’s about time he got paid. With the expected release of Lloyd and the possibility of Welker leaving in free agency, there is no way the Pats come out of this game of contractual chicken on top. There remaining receivers will have combined for 2 career receptions. Maybe it’s time the Pats swallowed their pride. If not now, the loss of Welker could mean they’ll be doing it later.
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