The Eastern Conference Finals are in full swing and it was great to see some Patriots showing their support for the hometown team last night. Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Julian Edelman, Sterling Moore, a freshly shaven Rob Gronkowski(who had his head shaved Sunday morning at Gillette Stadium to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer) and Wes Welker were all in attendance last night to watch the Celtics beat the Heat in overtime and tie the series up at two games a piece.
Wes Welker, who signed his franchise tender back in May described the move as a “leap of faith” via his Twitter account. Although he is participating in OTA’s he and the Patriots have yet to agree on a long-term deal.
In 2004, Wes Welker signed with the San Diego Chargers as an unrestricted free agent. He was released after the first game of the season and picked up by the Dolphins. He experienced minor success in Miami but not enough for the Fins to want to keep him. In 2007 the Dolphins traded Welker to the Patriots (where he experienced much more success) for a second and seventh round pick. And the rest is history.
Since 2007, Wes Welker has proved himself to be an invaluable member of the Patriots, both on and off the field. He is the only wide receiver in NFL history to have 3 seasons with 110+ catches. He has been nominated to the All Pro team four times. He is a crucial part of the offense whether it be on critical third down plays or touchdowns.
It’s hard to single out moments in his time with the Patriots but there are a few that stand out. The 99 and a half yard touchdown against Miami in the first game of the season last year. The press conference with 11 references to feet in response to the Jets’ trash talking and Rex Ryan’s wife’s foot fetish. The fact that he’s barely 5 foot 9 and makes incredible catches against guys over 6 feet tall.
In March of this year, Calvin Johnson inked a deal with the Lions that made him the highest paid wide receiver in the game. Over seven years, Johnson is set to make $132 million. If the season ends without a deal being made, there is no doubt in my mind that a team will sign Welker to a long-term deal with a Megatron price tag. Two AFC Championships and four Pro Bowls later, the Patriots need to show Wes the money, or he could be taking his talents back to South Beach, or elsewhere.