When Tom Brady agreed to his recent three-year contract extension that allowed the Patriots to gain some additional $8 million of cap space, it was considered a fait accompli that Wes Welker would be re-signing with New England to stick with his pal. Now, that prospect may not be such a sure thing.
First, the Patriots chose not to use the franchise tag on him and Welker is set to become a free agent March 12. With so little time between now and then, it would seem the productive wideout is intent on getting to the market to explore his possibilities.
Today we receive word from Yahoo's Jason Cole that Welker holds feelings of "somewhat mild disdain for the Patriots right now" according to a source close to the wideout. The root of that "disdain," according to the report, is Welker's decreased role at the start of the 2012 season when he was barely part of the game plan in the opener at Tennessee, where he caught three passes for 14 yards while being targeted just five times. Things didn't get much better in Week 2 when he was on the bench to start the home opener with Arizona before Aaron Hernandez went down with an early ankle injury.
Cole says that early-season treatment "stuck in Welker's craw all season. The receiver believes it was only the injuries to Hernandez and fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski that allowed him to resume his role as the Patriots most productive receiver. Cole adds: "In short, there's a little paranoia in the Welker camp these days about his role with the Pats."
With less than a week to go before the start of free agency, things are already heating up in Foxborough.