Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

13 Mar 2013

Wednesday Free Agency Thread (LATEST: DRC to DEN)


Ravens re-sign OL Ramon Harewood to one-year deal.
Tennessee signs FB Quinn Johnson to one-year deal.
Cleveland signs LB Quintin Groves to two-year deal, reportedly worth $2.8 million.
Chicago released TE Kellen Davis.
Saints re-sign LS Justin Drescher.
Lions reportedly re-sign CB Chris Houston to five-year deal.
Ravens release S Bernard Pollard.
Steelers sign QB Bruce Gradkowski to three-year deal.

11:20 a.m.:

Bills sign LB Manny Lawson.
Jaguars release WR Laurent Robinson.
Steelers release OL Willie Colon.
Giants sign K Josh Brown.
Lions sign DL Jason Jones.
Chiefs sign WR Donnie Avery.

1:20 p.m.:

Lions agree to terms with RB Reggie Bush on four-year deal.
Cardinals reach agreement in principle with RB Rashard Mendenhall.

2:30 p.m.:

Lions agree to terms with S Glover Quin on five-year deal.
Buccaneers sign S Dashon Goldson to five-year deal. Reportedly worth $41.25 million, with $22 million guaranteed.
Browns sign TE Gary Barnridge.
Jaguars sign LB Geno Hayes.
49ers announce deal with DT Glenn Dorsey.

5:30 p.m.:

Denver signs WR Wes Welker to two-year deal reportedly worth $12 million.
Denver signs LB Stewart Bradley to one-year deal.
Arizona agrees to terms with WR Josh Cribbs and ILB Lorenzo Alexander.
Arizona releases FS Kerry Rhodes.
Cleveland re-signs RB Chris Ogbonnaya to two-year deal.
Carolina re-signs QB Derek Anderson to one-year deal, and signs CB Drayton Florence to one-year deal.
Tennessee signs DL Sammie Lee Hill to three-year contract, reportedly worth $11.4 million.
Tennessee signs RB Shonn Greene to three-year deal.
Raiders sign LB Kaluka Maiava to three-year deal reportedly worth $6 million.
Cardinals sign QB Drew Stanton to three-year deal.

7:30 p.m.:

Seahawks agree to terms with DE Cliff Avril.
Patriots reportedly agree to terms with WR Danny Amendola on five-year deal worth $31 million.
Titans sign LB Moise Fokou to two-year deal.
Pittsburgh re-signs WR Plaxico Burress to one-year deal.
Arizona signs S Yeremiah Bell and CB Jerraud Powers.
Broncos sign DT Terrance Knighton.
Buccaneers sign LB Jonathan Casillas to one-year deal.

11:00 p.m.:

Denver signs CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to one-year deal.
Indianapolis signs S LaRon Landry to four-year deal reportedly worth $24 million, $14 of which is guaranteed.
San Diego reportedly agrees to terms with CB Derek Cox.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 13 Mar 2013

160 comments, Last at 18 Mar 2013, 2:44pm by Dean


by stinky (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 11:23am

The Ravens continued interest in developing Ramon Harewood is perplexing. Ozzie always seems to cling to his past draft picks even if there is little evidence of them becoming anything.

by jonnyblazin :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 11:47am

Harewood is basically Oher's backup, and I don't think Oher has ever been injured. Not much evidence either way on Harewood. They didn't tender him as a RFA, so its probably for very cheap.

Now, releasing Pollard to me is stunning. I thought after the Ridley hit he would be a Raven for life. But maybe the fact that he's never learned to play without going helmet to helmet vs. WRs is why they let him go. Still strange though.

I would have thought Vonta Leach and Jacoby Jones were next on the chopping block before Pollard.

by Bill (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 11:52am

The potential to need two starting Safs really speaks to the degree of rebuild.

by Tim Wilson :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 12:30pm

They're not alone-- safety is a tremendous need around the league, with several teams needing two starters at the position (Cowboys, Redskins, Raiders, etc.).

by Bill (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 1:50pm

If I may slightly 'yeah, but', my beloved Raiders still have Branch.

At least I think we do...

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 2:03pm

Any thoughts on the Michael Huff release? There was a period during the season where he was playing corner because he was their best cornerback even though he was a safety. I would have thought they had some money for him, given that he couldn't be asking for the moon.

by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 11:57am

I'm guessing harewood is an exclusive rights FA? either way, he probly cost nothing. he's a useful enough swing lineman. most teams have guys who fit that definition who stick around because nobody else is all that interested.

by Nevic (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 12:00pm

Bruce Gradkowski is still playing? He is still planning on playing in 3 years?!?

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 12:32pm

I liked Gradkowski when he started on some not-too-great Raiders team in 2009/10ish. I'd say he's a more than capable backup and could step in and start for a few games if Ben was out. Not a longterm starter but a good guy to have on the team.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 1:22pm

B. Gradkowski nive Raiders bakcup qb. Did some good things .

by DEW (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 2:19pm

Gradkowski's one of those guys who's not quite good enough to be a starter, but doesn't make you panic if you have to play him for a couple of games, kind of like a more fragile Matt Moore. And the Steelers definitely like veteran backups, so he fits the bill for them well enough. Heck, they're actually getting younger at the position. Only real concern with him is a propensity to get hurt.

by ChicagoRaider :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 3:24pm

Actually, it seems like a good fit to me. He is from the Pittsburgh area, he runs around like a maniac, so he fits right in behind Roethlisberger. When he steps on the field, his goal is to win the game, not just not-lose the game. Keep some Rolaids in stock in case he plays because he has a good shot of ending up on ESPN reels as taking the hit of the week.

by Jim C. (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 3:59pm

He is nine years younger than Charlie Batch. So there's that.

by Bill (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 1:51pm

I'll be curious to see how many of Titus Young's balls go to Reggie, and / or if they use a high pick on another "carpet" WR anyway.

by Dean :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 2:40pm

I must confess I'm not curious about Titus Young's balls at all.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 2:05pm

The Lions signing Jones is a bigger deal than signing Bush. Reggie Bush is basically a replacement for concussion casualty Jahvid Best. Jason Jones is a pretty good 3 technique DT, a position at which Detroit is theoretically stocked (both Suh and Fairley came into the league projecting as 3-techs).

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 2:33pm

Supposedly all three are also capable of rotating through at DE if needed.

by lionsbob :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 3:45pm

Reggie Bush came pretty cheap, 4 years/16 million (or the same contract that Erik Walden got yesterday).

Schwartz has already said he sees Jones at DE. Probably going to be the LDE for the Lions this season.

by LionInAZ :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:36pm

Willie Young and Lawrence Jackson have both played on the left side also, so a rotation seems likely.
They also need a replacement for Sammie Lee Hill.

I like the Glover Quin signing -- young and showing improvement. With the Lions injury luck he'll probably blow out a knee in camp.

Not really happy about the Reggie Bush signing, though. I'm not obsessed with the idea that they need a replacement for Jahvid Best, and I don't believe they're going to get it by signing a 29-yr old RB. I'd rather they gave more touches to Joique Bell and put more effort into shoring up at WR and TE.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 6:18am

Quin's largely been very good the last couple of years. He had a couple of shaky games down the stretch, but even so, I think the Lions got a good deal here. He can tackle, he can cover, he's a pretty good athlete and he stays healthy. I wish he was back in Houston.

by maynardjive :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 2:30pm

Why cut Beanie Wells only to sign Rashard Mendenhall? Aren't they basically the same guy?

by dryheat :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 3:15pm

Well, if their contracts were equal, sure.

by Rocco :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:03pm

Mendenhall is a former Steeler, which is what matters most to Arizona.

by jackiel :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:03pm

Mendenhall's probably the better injury risk at this point in his career.

by Theo :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:48pm

If you can't beat them, sign them.

by coboney :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 9:06am

Thats been Arizona's modus Oprendi since they lost the super bowl - hell even before with Ken Whisenhut. Just become Steelers of the South!

by Jerry :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 6:34pm

I don't know how successful they'll be at it, but there are worse organizations to try to emulate.

by TomC :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 3:16pm

Chicago released TE Kellen Davis.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Kellen.

On the other hand, I've definitely heard Giants (and, last year, Cowboys) fans say the same thing about Martellus Bennett that Bears fans did about K. Davis. But, at the very least, Bennett will generate more entertaining quotes.

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 4:06pm

Well, if the door hits him in the hands, he'll just drop it.

I feel like the Bears tight ends have been so bad that the bar is set really low for Bennett to be a noticeable improvement. With both Bennett and Bushrod, I'll be happy just to have competent NFL players at those positions, even if they turn out to be just average.

by Tim Wilson :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 10:03pm

Bennett's was a decent #2 TE in Dallas and a very strong run-blocking presence, but man does he clog up your Twitter feed as a fan. Was not sorry to see him go for that reason alone. Plus I got to stop following his YouTube channel, where he raps about cereal and being Aquaman in a previous life.

by whckandrw (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:06pm

omg you are so wrong Bennett is the only NFL player worth following on twitter

by jackgibbs :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 3:51pm

okay patriots! now's your chance to sign bernard pollard and keep him from killing all of your goddamn players!

by DavidL :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 3:54pm

Are you insane? The team would be lucky to survive minicamp!

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 4:48pm

Who is the pass-catching TE in NY with Martellus Bennett gone? Is this a hole pending the draft or did they sign someone I missed?

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 4:58pm

Dashon Goldson, you are more than welcome in Tampa. Bring some corners with you. Or alcohol. You'll need it.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:30pm

For that money he's all yours.

by Rocco :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:03pm

Looks like it's official- Wes Welker is off to the Broncos.

by Bobman :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:39pm

I am waiting, and will probably wait for a long long time, to see Ashley Manning bitch to the media about Welker dropping balls. Though his drops have increased over the years, so who knows...? That looks like a pretty cheap deal for Denver to me--a 100+ per year pass catcher for $6M. What kind of home-team discount was Kraft offering? Brady is reportedly mad and I'd be, too.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 4:17pm

"Brady is reportedly mad and I'd be, too"

No, somebody Tom Curran interviewed is mad. He's said he has no idea whether or not Brady is mad. Misleading tweets are misleading.

by RickD :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:04pm

Word is Welker is going to Denver.

And not for a lot of money, either.

Very unhappy about this development.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:55pm


For $6M a year, I would have bought him.

by PatsFan :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:06pm

Schefter is reporting 2yrs, $12 mil. LaCanfora says 2yrs, $14 mil.

Either way, I am (non-sarcastically) shocked NE wouldn't match that. Wow.

by jackgibbs :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:14pm

I hope this means they have plans for that money. I really believe even without welker, the offense is super bowl level; but every level of the defense needs to improve.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:20pm

Need I remind people, that it was the offense shitting the bed that knocked the Patriots out of the playoffs yet again?

Still, I'm surprised they were OK with giving him $9.5M and wouldn't give him 2/12 now. I feel like there's gotta be some bad blood going on or something.

by RickD :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:28pm

That's not a reminder, that's your opinion, and it's not shared. Nor is it supported by the DVOA numbers for the game.

The Pats' defense rolled over for the Ravens in the second half this season. No, the offense wasn't good, but the defense was worse.

Nor do I understand how letting the best receiver on the team walk is supposed to make the offense better.

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:46pm

It would make a lot more sense if the young guys were healthy and Welker had been missing time hurt--but the opposite has been the case. Gronk is hurt all the time, even Hernandez missed time last year, and they've been changing out the other WR every season. Welker was the one consistent guy they had. I can't imagine they won't miss him greatly.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:58pm

"Nor do I understand how letting the best receiver on the team walk is supposed to make the offense better"

Your strawmen are so nice.

by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 2:10am

Not sure you understand what a strawman argument actually is.

by Scott C :: Fri, 03/15/2013 - 9:51pm

The original comment did not claim that cutting Welker would make them better. It is arguing with thin air.

by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/16/2013 - 10:52pm

RickD's comment wasn't addressed to the original post, it was addressed to the sub-post about the Patriots offense 'shitting the bed' against the Ravens. Try tracing the thread correctly.

by rageon :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:15pm

Yep, for that amount of money, I'm shocked the Pats wouldn't match. I assumed that someone would overpay him greatly (heck, Wallace is clearly not worth twice Welker) and New England wouldn't decline to pay $10M+. But for $6M or even $7M, I think it's a great move for Denver.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:31pm

What is the over/under on the number of receptions Welker puts up in the NE-DEN game next year? Fifteen? Does anyone think New England is likely to have a corner in the slot that can even come close to covering Welker?

On the one hand, I disagree with the statement that "Wallace is clearly not worth twice Welker"; I think Wallace clearly is worth twice Welker, given that he is much more physically gifted and in the prime, rather than the twilight, of his career. I am surprised, however, that New England would let Welker walk TO DENVER, a team that based on winning their respective divisions they are certain to face in the regular season and based on their respective quarterbacks are almost as likely as not to face in the postseason.

This looks almost like Welker took a discount to go to a team likely to screw New England, which would seem out of character. But we know Welker wasn't happy with how he was treated last year.

by RedDog (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:01pm

What makes you think Welker would have chosen the Pats had they matched?

For every other team: fine. But the Broncos look like a slightly better shot to hoist that trophy the next two seasons.

Additionally, had I been in Wes' situation and gotten the option to chose between Broncos and Pariots, I would have chosen the Broncos, just to stick it to the Patriots.

The problem ist, before Welker got tagged last season, he played under a very low contract. He probably would ask for more money from the patriots, to make up for the past seasons (like Logan Mankins did ...)

by RedDog (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:03pm

Yes, I was right!

After the championship game, I wrote " see how important Welker is for this offense, but I say again what I said last season: let him walk, if only to push Brady out of his comfort zone."

Definitely on the money regarding the "comfort zone" of Mr. Giselle Bundchen.


by Bobman :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:45pm

Stability at his job and in his personal life might make a guy stay for the same (or similar money). Investors take a lower return all the time for a known entity with less volatility. Nobody likes moving, taking the kids out of school, buying a new house, whatever. I'm a homebody who wuld prefer to stay in a place I am familiar, maybe Wes is not.

Or maybe he just wanted to play with Peyton for a couple years, see what he's been missing....

by rfh1001 :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 4:18am

Seriously, I think this is a real thing and I'm surprised it's on the thread nowhere else. Yes, there's the guaranteed money (and although we are all plutocrats who think that $2m here, $2m there doesn't make a difference, it's real money to some people), but if I were Welker (and can you prove I am not?) I would be thinking: hang on! I've got the chance to win Championships with two of the all-time greatest NFL QBs. That is A) very cool, and B) no, seriously, it's incredibly cool, and C) who knows what I am doing next but it's probably marketable too.

by BJR :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 8:54am

Welker never won a championship with Brady.

by PatsFan :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:27pm

From beat writer Tom E. Curran:

@tomecurran: Spoke to someone close to Brady. Beyond enraged at details that netted Broncos Wes Welker. "Disgrace" "disservice" used

by rageon :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:30pm

Whether it's true or not, this was a story that was obviously coming after Brady apparently took less than true market value.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:35pm

Brady "taking less than market value" is a joke. He wants to continue playing in New England because his Hall of Fame case and (since that is mostly assured) Super Bowl chances depend on remaining with the Patriots.

If I had to pick a quarterback who benefited from the talent assembled around them the most in the NFL, it would be Brady.

That's not to say that he isn't an amazing quarterback who will be deservedly selected to the HOF on the first ballot. But the New England system hides faults which would show if he ever played behind a subpar offensive line or had to throw downfield and outside the numbers.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:43pm

Warner, Kurt.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 6:13am

In fairness, Warner did a pretty incredible job behind some terrible Cardinals offensive lines in his last years.

by eddy (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:27pm

I don;t think brandon Lloyd is exactly an "across the middle" type of guy. Brady doesn't have outside the numbers receivers, and hasn't, with the exception of Lloyd, in some time (Moss)

by Bobman :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:51pm

I agree about "taking less than market value" being a joke, or at least a misunderstanding of investment decisions. It was a risk issue that guaranteed him a fortune (good for Tom, bad for Pats should he get hurt or fade), but given his health and history, is good for both sides (extends him there in perpetuity, at a reasonable salary if he plays out the full deal). In terms of cash out of pocket today, it was not below market at all--it was an unnecesary extension that cost $30M. I think it was good for both sides, but not below market at all.

If he retires just one year early, it will look a bit worse for the team, a bit more "market" but by then we'll all be talking about some new deal and forget all about this. And if he gets hurt, hell, the Pats are screwed both on the field and in the wallet.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 9:54pm

Let's rephrase it, then. Didn't Brady sign a deal that was very friendly to the team? And that they could've used the money they saved to resign Welker? So, if you were Brady, would you be upset or not that the team let your favorite target leave?

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by dryheat :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 7:59am

I would be upset if the Patriots didn't use the money to improve the team in order to best position itself for a Championship. If Belichick felt the money was better used, for example, on the secondary or offensive line, in order to achieve that goal, I would be fine with it.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 11:32am

True, it's too early to judge.

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:59pm

"@tomecurran: Spoke to someone close to Brady. Beyond enraged at details that netted Broncos Wes Welker. "Disgrace" "disservice" used"

Curran later clarified that he doesn't mean Brady was enraged, and he has no idea what Brady thinks.

IE, some shithead off the street is pissed off and Curran was trying to get some headlines.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:29pm

Welker not playing in New England is worth 6 million a year to the Broncos.

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 5:49pm

Absolutely correct. They not only get his services, they deprive NE of them. Simply a great move by Elway.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:00pm

Also, Eric Decker put up an 85-1064-13 as a poor-man's Wes Welker.

Now Manning has an actual Welker to throw to. By kicking Decker down into the Stokley role, they've basically sizeably upgraded two receiver positions.

by RedDog (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:14pm

Anybody an opinion whether the Broncos had better spent that money on somebody else? I mean, it's not huge money, and as a Pats fan I think it was unevitable Welker left ... It just looked like Welker to Broncos is the worst case for the Patriots.

Denver needs: CB or pass rush?

The offense wasn't that bad ...

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:21pm

I had the same reaction until I saw what the actual figure was. The price is simply so incredible that it's a no-brainer.

Also: The Broncos lead the league in Adjusted sack rate last year - pass rush is not a need per se. I mean you can never have too many good passrushers. Same goes for recievers though.

by dryheat :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 11:46am

Absolutely. Denver's passing attack was their strength. Stokely actually had a better YPC and catch % than Welker. They really did not need an improvement there, one that might not be as large as most assume. It would be like the Patriots replacing Daniel Fells with James Casey. A better #3 TE is not going to put them over the hump.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:19pm

Actually, I anticipate Decker remaining the #2 and Welker taking over the Stokely role; the odd man out is the second tight end. This will almost undoubtedly be the best set of receivers Manning has had since Stokely was in his prime in 2004. Best offensive line since at least 2006, too.

by eddy (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:23pm

Look at those numbers. Decker is a downfield receiver, and will prob still see a lot of time on the outside, even puttin welker on the bench.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:17pm

I think you may have this wrong. Decker is a tall and physical guy. I think Welker will get Stokleys job, not Deckers.

by Gus (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 11:32pm

Yeah, this. Decker plays nothing like Welker, pigment-similarity aside.

by diggler (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:58am

This idea of Eric Decker being a slot receiver is so off-base that I'm going to go ahead and pile on even though several people have already pointed out the error. Did you just decide that every white receiver must be a 'Welker type' or what? Have you even seen the guy play? He's 6'3 and runs a 4.45 40.

by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 11:34am

But he's still a fan favorite with great hands and an excellent route-runner, even if he's not the most athletic guy out there. Real team player.

by rageon :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:19pm

Gritty too. And scrappy.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:31pm

Deceptively fast too.

by Rick S (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:32pm

Decker is physically and olahing style more similar to Keyshawn Johnson or Hines Ward than Wes Welker...

Sterotypes be damned

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:52pm

You forgot to include Jordy Nelson. :)

by Dean :: Mon, 03/18/2013 - 2:44pm

Obligitory Wayne Chrebet reference.

by eddy (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:14pm

Welker took a lot of hit the last 5 seasons with relatively little time missed. I think he isn't getting any better, and actually got what I think is his market value. he is a specialty receiver who won't fit every offense (read: quarterback) . Welker is only useful on an offense with a quarterback who can get the ball to a receiver at a high level already. Welker eemed to want a winner with a proven qb and space to get open, not necessarily to be the safety valve for a young qb to develop with.

I think welker is fine being the #3/inside receiver. The patriots had to use him deep far to often the past few years, and other receivers are much more suited for that role.

So, not washed up, but def happy stepping slightly outside the spotlight.

by RedDog (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:17pm

As a Patriots fan: The Patriots offense was horrible last seasons during the first games when Welker had a reduced role. Horrible as in totally crappy.

I thought he wasn't worth the franchise tag, but he earned every dime of that last year.

But my opinion: I am fine with him leaving. Brady needs to change. And that's the wakeup call for him.

by markus (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:53pm

Brady needs to change what exactly? How did Tom Brady become a problem the Pats need to address?

by RickD :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 9:55pm

Brady isn't going to change at this point, except by getting older, slower, and losing arm strength.

People who blame Brady for playoff losses really baffle me. 26 teams in the NFL would love to have Brady right now. OK, maybe only 21, but that's only because Newton, Griffin, Kaepernick, Luck, and Wilson are all likely to continue to improve.

by Purds :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:53pm

Washed up? Holy over-reaction, Batman!

Yeah, perhaps he's not worth more than $6 per year for 2 years, but he had about 120 receptions last year, and certainly not washed up. He may be by the end of the contract in two years, but it's a good buy for Denver. It will coincide with Manning's end, and at that point, it will be time to retool in a new direction.

Now, NE may be able to find the next Wes Welker in FA, a they did when they found Welker (yeah, I know it was a trade, but really just a FA deal, 6th rounder, I think). If so, good for them. But, don't overreact. You'd be a terrible GM.

by Anonymousssssssssssssssss (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:09am

The Patriots traded a 2nd rounder and a 7th rounder for Welker

by coboney :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 9:14am

He was tendered at the 2nd round level as a restricted free agent. The 7th rounder was tossed in to the team as a nicety so they didn't have to write a poison pill contract.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 6:43pm

K. Maiava good lienbCker. Will be nice player for Raiders. Teamon upswing AAnd going to keep swinging upwards with free agency and draft. Going to be like late 1970s and 1985 and1993 and ssome other years. Raiders vs Brobcos for AFC Wets supremacy.

by JonFrum :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:06pm

Ravens and Patriots - two of the best run franchises in the NFL. The Ravens dumped Boldin, and the Patriots dumped Welker. Everyone who thinks he knows better than Ozzie and B.B., raise your hand.

Both are thinking about the franchise, not your fantasy team. Both are weighing these moves against ten other factors that haven't even occurred to you.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:15pm

Oh absolutely. When I above say "Welker" i assume he's the Welker we know. BB knows a lot more about Welkers likely future production than we ever will.

That said, anyone would say this seems... odd.

by theslothook :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:18pm

I would say when BB traded away deion branch and let assante samuel walk with no obvious upgrades on the roster to replace them is a pretty good example that he isn't immune to mistakes or criticism.

by Cro-Mags :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:49pm

Patriots traded Branch for a 1st rounder, he got way overpaid, and his production fizzled in Seattle. He wasn't worth it.

by JonFrum :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:54pm

So you think the Eagles were satisfied with Samuel? They dumped him, before dumping the guy they kept after dumping him. Samuel was allergic to tackling - kind of a big deal in the NFL. It's not whether you want him - it's how much money it will take to keep him. Philly overpaid.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 9:49pm

They 'dumped' him four years later, partly because of a scheme mismatch. Asante Samuel was very good for most of his run in Philly.

by RickD :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 9:47pm

BB let Samuel walk because he wasn't willing to pay the salary the Eagles paid him. I don't know if the Eagles won that one.

Deion Branch was definitely overpaid by the Seahawks.

At least with Welker, the plan for a replacement is immediate. I'm still wondering who is supposed to replace Asante Samuel.

by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 3:23am

Why is letting Welker go for six M smart, while signing Flacco for 20 M per year also smart?

by duh :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:13pm

As a Patriot fan I won't even pretend I understand this move. Regardless of what they end up doing it'll be a little harder for me to root for them this year. Brady called Welker the 'heart and soul' of the team, as a fan I often felt that way. As someone else up thread said if he'd signed somewhere for 10 million a year I'd have wished him luck and understood, but this? I don't get it.

by RickD :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 9:44pm

I have to think that Belichick just didn't value Welker as much as fans do.

Belichick wants all of his players to be eager beavers. That's not Welker's style. Welker is productive but he doesn't have the ah, gee whiz attitude that Belichick wants. He was quite content to let Edelman take over punt return duties. Belichick, when he heard this, said "Way to compete!" sarcastically. (You can hear this tidbit on the NFL network's hour-long Belichick special.) And then there were the foot comments about Rex Ryan.

Belichick might have gotten irritated about the drops. I've personally been defensive about people blaming losses on Welker dropping passes, but Belichick might blame him for the Super Bowl loss. (Mind you, I would be surprised if he does.)

Like others say, I could see taking Amendola in place of Welker if Amendola were cheaper. But the Pats signed Amendola for more than they offered Welker. They were not willing to offer Welker five years for $31 million, but are willing to make that offer to Amendola. That's the part that baffles me.

That and the fact that so many people find think all small, white, wide receivers are equal.

by Sifter :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 11:33pm

It's going to be a great experiment isn't it? For the non-Pats fans, we can all rejoice in the fact that now we can finally see whether Welker really is that good, or whether he's just another cog in a very efficient NE offensive machine. And we get to see that both by watching him in Denver, and by watching Amendola - Mr Welker-lite himself - in NE.

Apparently the Pats best offer for Welker for $10mill over 2 years. Pretty low, but Denver was hardly offering much more. Seems pretty obvious Wes was happy to walk away. So why Brady might be upset at Welker leaving baffles me a bit. Surely he might have twigged that Welker wasn't happy, if Wes has had a running beef with the Pats. Or perhaps it was a snap decision by Welker ie. geez that offer's too low - screw you guys I'm off to Denver. Big decision to make on a snap though.

by RickD :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 11:48pm

Brady wouldn't blame Welker for walking away from the deal that the Pats offered. The offer was peanuts given Welker's elite status. He was tagged last year for $9.5 million for one season. Apparently the Pats offered him $500k more for two seasons. That's a big cut in pay and, quite frankly, insulting. And then the Broncos offer more than that.

And to top it off, the Pats offer Amendola a better contract than they were offering Welker!

Basically, Belichick pointed to the door and waved good-bye.

This was no snap decision. This contract situation has been going on for years.

If Welker has a better season than Amendola and the Broncos make the Super Bowl, then this has to be viewed as a mistake by Belichick. It's not like signing Amendola has saved the Pats any money.

by Purds :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 1:22am

"Denver was offering hardly much more"

Really, a 20% pay raise is not much more? I'd jump from almost any job for a quick 20% raise, as long as I was doing the same work and especially if I knew I had only 2-4 years left at most to earn real money like that, and then I'd need to live another 40 years on that money and a salary outside of that profession that pays about 5% of those few years.

People think this is monopoly money because it's so much more than we make, but these are real factors for any football player who thinks, aside from the whole "salary level equals pecking order" macho thing in sports.

Obviously Welker and BB did not see eye-to-eye outside of the football lines, and while BB's Bobby Knight-like demand/need for control helps him win a ton of games, it's going to rub some folks wrong, especially if you think you are underpaid. I would guess that neither one is particularly unhappy about the parting.

by Sifter :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 4:27am

It's all relative. If I'm earning $50,000 working with friends, but some rivals offer me $60,000 - then no, I probably wouldn't swap. But I would swap if: a) I didn't really like the people I was working with, and/or b) I REALLY needed the money. Welker is most likely in group a), I'd be surprised if he was in b). He made $9.5 mil last year alone, with another $10 mil on the table, yet he's willing to risk changing cities for an extra $2 mil? It's more money, sure, but I think he'd have to be a little financially desperate if this move was ALL about money. Given that no one knows his financials, and a) is by far the most likely, that's what I'll maintain until I hear otherwise.

by Theo :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 5:44am

It's not relative because the money is absolute.
The question is would you change employer if instead of $50.000 you would be getting $2.050.000?
Even for those who have a lot of money already; $2 million is still a lot of money.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 9:45am

The money is absolutely relative. If I offered the average man on the street two million dollars to run once around times square waving his trousers around his head then I think most would take the money. If I offer the same to Warren Buffet I think he turns me down because for him the same money isn't worth it.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 9:54am

I dunno, Warren's getting to the age when anything might happen. Maybe 2 long and an Oreo Blizzard would do the trick.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 8:23am

It's also a real thing that if you are making $50K and working with friends, but you know of people doing the same work you do, and really aren't much if any better at it than you, who possibly have more resources to work with, who make $120K a year, that you feel undervalued. So that raise to $60K at a place where you have other friends, though maybe not as many, and you have a chance of working on an industry award winning project as opposed to just an industry leading, but less likely to be judged the best means a bit more. It's never all about the money of course, but it has a bigger impact than some people like to claim.

Let's also throw in that all moving expenses, including the time spent to find a new place and transfer everything like finding new health care providers, etc covered of course because in the real world the cost of that is really one of the bigger reasons people don't switch jobs/locations for a 20% raise as often. Most people aren't making enough to make the other costs of moving pretty much irrelevant, but once you do, other factors become more important. I just wanted to extend the analogy out a bit farther. To many people it matters how far they are from family. However if they make so much, and have flexible enough schedules that they can visit family more or less whenever they want, not wanting to live too far away becomes less of an issue. Barriers that we may not consciously think about, but that are there, go away when you reach certain income levels.

by Rick S (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:35pm

For Welker it wasnt about just the money. Heard on Denver radio that Tennessee offered him 2yrs for $15M...

by Go pats (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 10:17pm

He just wanted to stick it to the pats. The same team that took him out Miami where he was a nobody and allowed him to be what he is today. There's gratitude for you. Who the hell would go to the titans anyway? They suck and there is no chance they will be any good five years from now.

by Scott C :: Sat, 03/16/2013 - 3:21pm

Well Miami took him from San Diego off the practice squad, so maybe his loyalty is with them. Or maybe it is with San Deigo for giving him his first shot.

Or more likely, none of the above. There is nothing special about the pats taking him from miami, except that he proved his worth to be far more than what the pats paid for him.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 11:54pm

Danny Amendola : 11/2/1985
Wes Welker : 5/1/1981

Thats really important. Receivers not named Jerry Rice seem to decline pretty damn quick in their 30s.

Frankly, these look pretty similar:
Wes Welker 2006: 67/99 for 687 yds, 1TD
Ammendola 2012: 63/101 for 666 yds, 3td

by Moman (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:11am

This might help:

Regular season games missed:
Welker 2005-2012: 3
Amendola 2012: 5
Amendola 2011: 15

by PatsFan :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 7:25am

If Welker's no-contact ACL blowout happened in Game 1 instead of Game 16, those numbers you list would be very similar.

by dryheat :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 8:12am

You're the only other person I've heard make this point. There's no evidence that Welker is less fragile than Amendola, other than timing, and it's a puny sample size regardless. Plus IIRC, Amendola's injuries were a torn triceps and a broken collarbone -- neither of which carry a significantly higher risk of recurrance than any other player has of suffering same. If Amendola was coming of a broken foot or had a string of hamstring injuries, I'd feel very differently.

There's a good Reiss piece on ESPN on how this went down. In short, the Pats offered their 2 year 10 million contract with incentives that could get Welker up to 6 million more. Welker didn't think that he should have to reach incentives to get what he thought was a fair contract. When he and Denver were intensifying their talks, the Pats reached out to Amendola, not wanting to lose out on both, and started working on the parameters of a deal. When Welker came back to see if the Pats would match the Broncos deal, Belichick told him that they had made other commitments. I think that if Belichick thought Denver would only go 2-12, he'd have tweaked his offer and Wes would stay. Apparently though, a different (non-contender, as far as such labels can be given out in March) team offered Wes 2/15, so it's clearly not all about the money here.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 9:50am

Both torn hamstrings and broken clavicles reoccur more than most injuries. Plus Amendola suffered two independent injuries to Welker's one.

I'm pretty happy to see Amendola out of the NFC West but it doesn't make sense to argue that he hasn't been injury prone.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:31pm

You guys do realize that blowing a knee on week 1 vs blowing a knee on week 17 do result in markedly different snaps to injury ratios, right? I mean, we are assuming (correctly) that injuries are not random, so the number of snaps before an injury cannot be random, either.

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by dryheat :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 4:34pm

I don't see the relevance going forward. Welker's knee gave out on a cut. If you think that he was less injury-prone because it happened in Week 16 and not Week 1, I don't know. Possibly. If you believe that he is less injury prone because his knee gave out in Week 16 and not Week 1, I would disagree.

My point is only that Amendola's injury risk going forward is greatly overstated. I think Welker would be more likely to get hurt in 2013 just due to greater age and wear.

by Guest789 :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:57am

Plus, a guy like Welker may be more impacted by an age-related decline, since he relies so much on his quickness, than a receiver like an Anquan Boldin or Plaxico Burress.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by bobrulz :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:15pm

As a Broncos fan, I am absolutely thrilled with this Welker acquisition. I'm almost having as hard of a time believing this as I did the Broncos signing Manning last year. And at that price, Welker doesn't even have to catch 120 passes to be worthwhile - the Broncos now have the best top 3 receivers in the league, and no other team even comes close. Manning may not be physically where he was at 10 years ago, but I wouldn't be surprised if he outplays even what he did last season with this kind of talent on hand. Manning quite simply has the best roster around him that he has possibly ever had, or at least since he won the Super Bowl. Great teams build through the draft. The best teams build through the draft AND know when to take their shots in free agency. The Broncos are on their way to that status. It's hard not to consider them AFC favorites after this.

by Guest789 :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:21pm

No team comes close? I think the Packers' group of Cobb, Jones, and Nelson are pretty competitive, and if they bring Jennings back, I would comfortably put them above the Broncos.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by bobrulz :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:40pm

Maybe they're the closest, but I would only consider them in the same category if Jennings comes back. If you count receiving TE's as basically being receivers, I could also accept White/Jones/Gonzalez in Atlanta, and maybe Bryant/Austin/Witten in Dallas if Dez Bryant continues to play like he did at the end of last season.

I admit some bias.

by RickD :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 9:36pm

As a Pats fan I would definitely take the Packers' receivers over any other team's. Even without Jennings.

But I would take the Pats' TEs. (duh)

by Go pats (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 9:54am

I would not rush to buy your playoff tickets just yet

by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 9:59am

In that division, the Broncos odds of getting back to the playoffs are pretty damned good.

by Go pats (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 11:52am

sorry i meant super bowl

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:18pm

The sound you hear is all the media talking heads squeeing with delight. PK probably had an orgasm.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:23pm

As if Broncos-Pats games lacked storylines.

by RickD :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 9:35pm

Really didn't need that mental image.

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:40am

Yeah, PK's airline gastro-intestinal problems were bad enough!

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:39pm

Amendola replacing Welker presumably makes Brady a mite less pissed off tonight.

by bobrulz :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:41pm

Too bad Amendola can't stay healthy.

by theslothook :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 7:42pm

I think the Pats won't miss a beat with amendola replacing welker. I think actually both denver and Ne did the right things. Den is absolutely in win now mode while Ne has a bit more time and flexibility that the length of the contracts for each receiver make perfect sense for their respective teams.

by jackgibbs :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 8:23pm

same price for a younger, albeit more injury-prone model. I don't get the red raider obsession, but whatever

I would have preferred they let hernandez, edleman, and shane vareen split those routes and spend that money elsewhere though

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 8:31pm

Yup. If he stays healthy, he's a younger and cheaper Welker. If not, Brandon Stokley will probably still be available.

by RickD :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 9:34pm

In what sense is Amendola cheaper than Welker?

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 8:07am

You are correct. Don't know why I wrote cheaper.

by nat :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 9:23am

In what sense is Amendola cheaper than Welker?
Less guaranteed money and smaller cap hit?

by Subrata Sircar :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 8:23pm

"Den is absolutely in win now mode while Ne has a bit more time and flexibility"

NE has 1-2 years more. Banking on Brady being Brady for longer than 3-4 years is a sucker bet.

If/when Brady goes down, I don't think they're going 11-5 with Mallet or anyone else this time. The team as a whole is considerably worse than it was then. (It is possible that Mallet will be considerably better than I predict, but I don't believe it's likely.)

That said, I would rather have Welker at 2/$12M than Amendola at 5/$31, assuming the money is remotely comparable. Welker is unlikely to crater in the next two years, and banking on Manning beyond that is lunacy. (Heck, I wouldn't have banked on him this year - while I'm glad I was wrong, it's hard to see Manning playing longer than that at a high level.)

by MehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 11:38pm

I think you're right about the Patriots window, because of this: that 11-5 record was a five game drop from the 16-0 the year before. If the Pats lose five more games than they did last year, they'll be 7-9. I think Brady will be good for more than 2 years, but once he's gone, there will be at least a rough patch.
The other interesting thing to me is how much Denver depends on Manning. I could see Mallett leading the Pats to 9-7, possibly. If Osweiler starts a season for Denver, they'll be in the running for the Bridgewater sweepstakes.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 11:56pm

Brady is a couple years younger than Manning. If you think Manning should hold up 2 or 3 more years, Brady should have 3-5.

That, and Manning's got a more serious recent injury history.

by Nathan_d (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 10:35am

Actually, it's not true that if you think Manning has 1-2 years, you have to think Brady has 3-5.

See, Peyton has made it to 36 as an elite quarterback. So expecting he'l make it to 38 as a pretty good one is a reasonable bet. Brady's only made it to 34-35 as an elite quarterback (18 month difference), so it's less likely he'll make it to 38. If they were both in their 20s you'd be correct, but at this point the age difference matters a lot less.

It's the same reason a 70 year old man can expect 13.7 years of additional life, but an 80 year old man can expect 8.9. Once you've gotten there that's additional information that matters.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 11:49am

...expecting he'l make it to 38 as a pretty good one is a reasonable bet.

What you mean is that he has a better chance than Brady, no more. A reasonable bet would be to assume age will catch on to him soon, because that's what age does and it makes no exceptions.

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 3:44pm

Maybe not 3-5, but I'd say a 35 year old Brady has a better chance of 3 years, than a 38 year old Peyton has of 2.

by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 03/15/2013 - 11:09am

I also went to check on that life expectancy data Nathan quotes and it's complete bull: Social Security Period Life Table

Every year you're older there's a higher chance of death and lower life expectancy. I'm glad I checked, cause it's the kind of tidbit you don't completely believe, but that stays in the back of your mind for years.

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by Nathan_D (not verified) :: Fri, 03/15/2013 - 2:15pm

Actually, you fail at reading the table. By your table a 70 year old had a life expectancy of 13.73 years - average age of death 83.73. An 80 year old had a life expectancy of 7.9 years - average age of death 87.9. If you're betting on someone to make it to 85, the 80 year old is a much safer bet.

Same way with the quarterbacks. Not many make it to 38 as a good quarterback. I'd put lots of money on a bet that 2 of the 3 top rookies from last year (Luck, RG3, Wilson) are done as effective quarterbacks by 38. But as you get closer to 38, the odds go up that you'll make it.

For clarity, swap Aaron Rogers for Brady. If the question is "Who will be a better QB in 2016?", the odds clearly favor Rogers. If the question is "Who will be the better QB at 38?", the odds pretty clearly favor Manning.

by Noah Arkadia :: Sat, 03/16/2013 - 6:02pm

Yeah, I might have misread your original comment. I thought your argument was more esoteric. I agree that older people have a higher chance of reaching any future age than any younger person -because to reach any future age, the younger person has to reach the older person's age, first.

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by galactic_dev :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 8:50pm

Welker is going to be a faster/stronger Stokely, playing in the slot, so his stats won't be as good in Denver, but they won't have to be. Welker is great, but in the Superbowl he looked decidedly undangerous.

by Kitty Carlisle (not verified) :: Wed, 03/13/2013 - 9:22pm

He'll be a very nice security blanket for Mr. Manning who, after DT and Decker, probably had to rely too much on Brandon Stokely (who had a nice season overall)and also had absolutely no faith in any of the other wideouts who played.

by DEW (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 9:16am

True, that. My heart was in my throat every time I heard the phrase "Manning throws to Willis" from the announcer. Bad things tended to happen. I hope they keep Stokely as the #4, honestly.

by Rick S (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 11:02am

I love Stokely too, but can Denver keep 4 WRs (5 if you count Holiday on covg units) on the roster who they won't play on special teams units? Keep in mid they also have three RBs, (Moreno, Hillman & McGahee)who aren't likely special teams contributors either.

Matthew Willis isnt a good receiver, but he has hung on because of his special trams contributions, in 2013 he is on the bubble for sure. Denvers #4 receiver will either be Willis or be a mid/late round receiver who will make their initial contributions to the team blocking returns and as a gunner on coverage units.

by BroncosGuyAgain :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 12:08am

Drew Stanton?

by Danny Tuccitto :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 2:01am
by wr (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 10:17am


by Rick S (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 1:58am

Bottom line is that Denver got better with the addition of Welker, while New England is hoping to stay the same with the addition of Amendola.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 3:45pm

So? NE made it to the AFC championship last year, and the superbowl the year before. Staying the same is pretty damn good, especially when most of the team is very young.

by Dan :: Thu, 03/14/2013 - 2:44am

Stokley to STL? Let's get the rumors started. Statisticians want the Rams to complete the triangle so they can separate player and system.