Category Archives: New England Patriots
When you look at the New England Patriots roster, there aren’t a whole lot of weak areas that need strengthening before the start of the new regular season. On the back of their fifth Super Bowl triumph, Bill Belichick and his men are preparing to make yet another run at the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
As the 2017 draft edges closer, the Patriots have a couple of very interesting decisions to make. While a large part of the team that secured the championship last season will start the new year with the Patriots, there are some areas where Belichick and his coaching staff will feel they need to tweak before preseason.
Have we seen the last of Wes Welker with the New England Patriots?
A source with intimate knowledge of the team’s thinking told Ron Borges of the Boston Herald that the Patriots “are simply not going to put an $11.4 million franchise tag” on the 31-year-old wide receiver.
Borges argues Welker has worked himself into a corner, and he’s right. With little leverage in the situation, Welker isn’t about to receive a better offer than the fully guaranteed two-year, $16 million deal he turned down in 2011. By signing his franchise tender last May, Welker veered off a path that helped previous players get paid.
Players who carried contract demands to the brink in New England — Richard Seymour, Asante Samuel, Vince Wilfork and Logan Mankins, for example — were among those awarded open-market value by the team. Welker squelched that opportunity by agreeing to his one-year, $9.515 million tender last spring. Contract talks went south soon after.
Pro: It’s hard to debate the numbers and what Welker has provided the Pats offense. The slot machine just keeps producing and getting open underneath. He also keeps getting up after taking a pounding. He’s an automatic 100-plus catches every year. That kind of production isn’t easily replaced. Neither is his connection with Tom Brady. Keeping Welker in a Pats uniform would keep both happy. Welker is the chains-mover. He keeps Brady and the offense in sync. Or, as Brady said about Welker, he’s the “heart” of the team. Assigning the tag will, at the very least, keep the team moving toward a multi-year extension at a more reasonable cost.
The Patriots’ playoff-opening victory against the Texans came with a crushing price.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski has broken his left forearm again, and he’ll need season-ending surgery, according to a source. Gronkowski landed on his arm while trying to catch a pass up the left sideline in the first quarter of yesterday’s 41-28 victory.
He immediately sought out the medical staff and was in visible pain. He remained on the sideline for a few minutes before departing for the locker room, where tests revealed the extent of the damage.