In one of the bigger headlines through two days of the 2013 free agency season, multiple sources are now reporting that wide receiver Wes Welker has left the New England Patriots and is headed to the Denver Broncos to play with Peyton Manning. The turn of events comes after the Patriots offered Welker a contract that he believed significantly undervalued his services.
For his career, Welker has five seasons of at least 100 receptions, which is the most in NFL history. Over the past two seasons, he has 240 receptions for 2923 yards and 15 touchdowns. The ten year veteran will be 32 years old when the 2013 season begins.
Welker’s new contract is a two-year deal worth $12 million, which is more than what Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots were willing to offer him. According to Albert Breer, the Patriots offered him a contract for two years at $10 million, $2 million below what he signed for.
Welker will in all likelihood replace the 37-year old Brandon Stokley as the slot receiver for the Broncos, with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker the starters. The Peyton Manning offense will surely heavily employ a three receiver offense, of course.
The signing should add an interesting new wrinkle to the Peyton Manning and Tom Brady narrative, since the media likes to make a big deal out of it every time the two quarterbacks play each other. The Broncos will be traveling to play New England this season, so Welker should brace for a chorus of boos when the time comes.
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