|Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole on M&M: Wes Welker ‘realizes this is the best place for him to be’||03.05.13 at 1:47 pm ET|
Yahoo! Sports writer Jason Cole, who posted a story Tuesday morning indicating that Wes Welker has “mild disdain” for the Patriots because of how the team limited his role in the offense in the early part of last season, joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to talk about the situation.
Although Cole’s article suggests that a new contract for Welker will not be as easy as some thought after Tom Brady renegotiated his deal and freed up some money for the team, he said ultimately he expects Welker will be a Patriot when the 2013 season begins.
“He’s probably going to stay, because he realizes this is the best place for him to be,” Cole said. “Even if that costs him a little bit of money vs. what he can make somewhere else, you’d make the good choice and stay with a team that knows you well, is going to pay you decently and is going to give you every opportunity.
“Is he a little bit concerned about how things could go here in the future? A little bit. But I think that that’s going to get outweighed by the fact that playing with Tom Brady is the best option for him.”
Cole said the Patriots learned early last year how difficult it is to replace Welker, a rare case of Bill Belichick failing to prove a point.
“With the Patriots it’s always about who’s in charge, who’s the boss here. And that’s OK. That’s how Bill does things,” Cole said. “And I know that another part of this was they wanted to get [Aaron] Hernandez to take over more of that role so that they were ready to move on from Wes.
“And they also had a belief that Brandon Lloyd could be that guy. Because remember, Brandon Lloyd is Josh McDaniels‘ guy. That was the guy he ‘discovered’ when he was in Denver and turned him into a legitimate receiver. And it took an entire season for everybody to realize that Brandon Lloyd is just a guy. Pretty good, but he’s not a game-breaker, he’s not a game-changer. He’s not that consistent. You need to have Welker over there for the consistency. And as much as you might want to funnel the ball more to a guy like Hernandez and [Rob] Gronkowski, they get hurt.
“So, what do you want to do here? You need to have Welker, you need to have him over there catching a hundred, 110 balls a season and moving the chains along and doing that job.”
Added Cole: “I think that at the beginning of last year there was a distinct feeling within the coaching staff, ‘OK, we can set it up to move along, to move to somebody else.’ And then they discovered no, they really can’t, Welker’s still the guy.”
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