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Inside Free Agency - Day 17: Wes Welker

Posted Feb 26, 2013

A look at the most interesting players available in 2013

The crazy time of year that is free agency is fast approaching, so KCChiefs.com has you covered with a 30-day free agency look, highlighting the 30 most intriguing free agents or players who could be released/traded during the offseason.

You may have noticed, there are no restricted free agents on the list, largely because they rarely leave their current teams. None of the reports are indicative of the Chiefs plans for the 2013 free agency season.

DAY 17 of 30

Wes Welker is a household name at the receiver position. Having just returned from the NFL Combine, I can't tell you how many pro prospect WRs we spoke with, who said they pattern their games after Welker's.

During five of his last six seasons, Welker has over 1,000 receiving yards and will be the first to admit that, playing with QB Tom Brady never hurts.

With Brady's new three-year contract extension with the Patriots, as reported by SI.com's Peter King, the team will have more cap space, likely used to sign key players, like Welker. Sources tell Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, that Welker and the Pats are discussing a contract. However, we'll still look at Welker, after all, it is the NFL, anything can happen.


Name: Wes Welker
Position: WR
Height: 5’9
Weight: 185
College: Texas Tech
Born: May 1st, 1981(Oklahoma City, Ok)
Age: 31
Experience: 9 years
Drafted: Undrafted in 2004, coming out of Texas Tech


Welker just completed his ninth season in the league. After signing as a free agent with the San Diego Chargers in the spring of 2004, he went to the Miami Dolphins for three years and has spent the last six seasons with the Patriots.

Career stat line: 140 games (81 starts), 19 rushes, 151 yards, 768 receptions, 8,580 yards and 38 TDs, including a 99-yard score.

STRENGTHS:

Versatility

Welker can play a number of different roles for the Patriots. During the 2012 season, he lined up in the backfield, the slot and on the outside. He is also a dangerous punt returner, who can be used on special teams, when a jolt is needed.


Ability to Extend Plays

Welker has the priceless gift of being able to extend plays. He may not be Usain Bolt, but he's quick and agile enough to make plays after the catch.

Consistent-

Welker was second in the NFL for receptions (118), eighth in yards (1,354) and first in yards after the catch in 2012. He also averaged 11.5 yards per catch, last season.

WEAKNESSES:

Clutch Drops

In Super bowl XLVI, facing the New York Giants, Welker dropped a pass that likely would have helped ice the game, which was later won by the G-Men.

During the 2013 AFC Championship Game, facing the Baltimore Ravens, his drops continued. In the third quarter, with the Patriots driving in Ravens territory and looking for a first down, Welker again dropped a pass, that would have continued the drive.

Injuries-

Welker tore his ACL, during the regular season finale against the Houston Texans in 2009. However, he has responded remarkably well since then; two years after the tear, he led the leauge in receptions (122).

FINAL TAKE:

I wanted to include ESPN NFL Insider Bill Polian's opinion of Welker, as the former Colts general maanager has faced the Patriots and Welker, in the past.

"He will be 32 at the start of the 2013 season and is a big age concern," Polian said.

"How much money do you want invested in a player who is small, is not very fast and excels in New England's offense but doesn't have a lot of years in front of him? That's the question teams face with Welker. The Patriots didn't sign him long term, which should be an indicator of his value. Will they franchise him at $12 million? I don't know. Will he command more on the open market? I don't know. You can't deny (that) he's a good player. It's his value that remains a question."

As mentioned above, Welker may be all but inked to a deal in New England, thanks to his good buddy, Tom Brady agreeing to his new deal. Either way, Welker won't have trouble finding work.

YOUR THOUGHTS ON WES WELKER?

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