Burke: Patriots need sense of urgency with Welker gone

Wes Welker is headed to the Mile High city. It's the Patriots time to act.
Wes Welker is headed to the Mile High city. It’s the Patriots time to act.

When Tom Brady re-signed with the Patriots for a bargain basement deal last month, it was widely believed that the team would turn around and spend that extra cash on a player that could elevate the team’s current status as one of the handful of best teams in the NFL to a sure-fire Super Bowl favorite.

As of Wednesday night, the Patriots haven’t followed through on their end of the perceived bargain. That could certainly still change at any hour, but until that happens the Patriots will rightfully be blasted in the media and by fans for letting the most productive receiver in the history of the franchise bolt town. In case you haven’t heard, Wes Welker agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal Wednesday to join rival Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Denver.

According to several reports, Bill Belichick and the Pats’ brass didn’t work all that hard to keep No. 83 in Foxboro. Albert Breer, of NFL Network, tweeted moments after news of Welker’s departure broke: “My understanding is the Patriots’ final and only recent offer was $10M over two years with incentives. Didn’t make a big effort to keep him.”

Comcast New England’s Tom E. Curran spoke with someone close to Tom Brady moments after the news broke and the source was “enraged” and used words such as “disgrace” and “disservice” regarding the contract details.

For months, both the anti-Welker and pro-Welker camps had great talking points throughout this whole “keep-him,” “let him bolt” saga. Yes, he will be 32-years-old when the 2013 season begins and yes, in the Patriots’ two most recent playoff losses Welker had huge drops. Still, there has been next to nothing to suggest that Welker’s ungodly production as the Pats’ slot receiver would cease over the next few years. Welker had been Brady’s security blanket since he was traded to New England from the Dolphins in 2007 and one could easily make the case that Welker was the best slot receiver in NFL history during his tenure with the Pats. There were five seasons with over 110 catches here. No other player in NFL history has more than two seasons with that type of production.

But this whole contract thing with Welker was never really about production. He could have caught 300 balls last season and things wouldn’t have changed much from the Patriots’ perspective. This thing has always been about “value” with the Patriots front office and whether or not they could get a good deal at a particular position.

The bottom line is that they don’t think slot receiver Wes Welker is worth $12 million over two years. And, really, that should be fine with everyone … on one condition:

Spend that extra cash you’ve got lying around NOW. Not next summer when Brady will be closing in on 37 years of age. Not the summer after when he’ll be yet another year older.

NOW, when the AFC is basically there for the taking. NOW, when Brady is in the first year of this final deal. NOW, when Rob Gronkowski and Hernandez are entering their primes. NOW, when the defense needs multiple, heady veterans to reach that next level.

The Patriots can still figure out a way to be, above and beyond, the Super Bowl favorite when camp begins in July. But make no mistake, for the Patriots front office, it’s “show-me” time. NOW.

Matt Burke is sports editor and a columnist at Metro Boston. Follow him on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Local

NYPD arrest man after finding body inside plastic…

Police said they found a man stuffed inside a plastic container in a Brooklyn home. Authorities arrested Joshua Simser, 24, in connection to the death

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.