The Patriots jerked around Wes Welker for the better part of two whole seasons. And Welker, to his credit, handled things just about as well as someone being jerked around could. But after two years of waiting only to have the Patriots slow play him and then follow it up with low ball offer, he had finally had enough.
Guess we should’ve seen this coming. It’s the Patriots way. Or rather the Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft way. They jerked around Logan Mankins and Vince Wilfork. They wouldn’t pay Deion Branch after winning a Super Bowl MVP. They even cut poor Tiquan Underwood on the eve of the Super Bowl. But that’s all business right? That’s all Bill Belichick being ahead of the curve right? No, that’s just the Patriots exhibiting how much they care about players not named Tom Brady. The short of it is that they don’t care about players not named Tom Brady.
We get to hear about how Robert Kraft spent years trying to drum up a contract to make Tom Brady a Patriot for life. A contract that Kraft “presented” to Brady on a flight the two shared from Massachusetts to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Brady’s most trusted target can’t even get Kraft to come to the table with a serious offer.
You can argue that the two-year, $16 million, fully guaranteed deal the Patriots offered Welker in 2011 was a serious offer. And you’re probably right seeing as though that’s essential the same deal he took to sign with Denver. But just as it’s a business for the Patriots, it’s also a business for Welker.
What’s interesting about all this is the Brady restructured his contract so other players could get paid. And if we were to speculate, you have to think that number one on that list in Brady’s mind had to be Wes Welker. The two are friends, they vacation with one another, and most importantly Brady trusts Welker. Yes, Gronkowski and Hernandez are explosive talents that teams can’t stop. But on 3rd and 5, where is Brady looking. You got it, he’s looking for Welker.
Maybe the Patriots offense doesn’t miss a beat. Maybe they’re better. We don’t know. But what we do know is that Tom Brady is the only player exempt from the Patriot way. And frankly, it’s really a shame.