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Is Keeping Hernandez and Gronkowski the Reason Welker is Without an Extension?

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  1. PatsFans.com Article

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    Is Keeping Hernandez and Gronkowski the Reason Welker is Without an Extension?
    By: Ian Logue

    When you assemble as much talent as the New England Patriots have over the past few seasons, eventually it reaches a point where tough decisions have to be made because you can't keep everybody....

  2. Nunchucks

    Nunchucks Rookie

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    Welker is a great player, but the Patriots offense could be more dynamic from the I formation.

    With two true outside receivers, two TEs, a RB, and a FB on the field, the Patriots offense can truly do anything. They can spread teams out with Hernandez and the RB, they can run with power, play-action and go deep.

    Having Welker on the field hurts the Patriots personnel groupings. He is a slot receiver who often lines up on the outside because the patriots don't have two outside receivers. Playing in 3 receiver sets cuts down on the number of "big guys" they can put on the field, they can't use a FB and if they want to use 2 TEs, Welker goes to the outside or Hernandez goes to the outside, which is less than ideal IMO.....or they can go empty backfield, which makes it difficult to offer the threat of running the ball.

    I formation is where it is at, Welker while an excellent player, isn't suited for an offense that the Patriots are moving towards with two dynamic TEs...it isn't the contract so much as the flexibility that they lose by having Welker on the field.
  3. mayoclinic

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    When I suggested that I was ridiculed for "amateur over analysis". So obviously it can't be a factor.
  4. eagle eye

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    Why did they franchise him then?
  5. Nunchucks

    Nunchucks Rookie

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    Because he is an excellent WR, but if you had to choose, would you choose a two TE set that features Gronk and Hernandes or an aging Welker?
  6. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Because this year there is no impact from paying Welker on Gronkandez. In 2013 the Pats will probably try to extend at least one of them, so there will be more competition for $$. And in 2014, paying Welker big money could mean letting one of them go. And given Hernandez' hybrid role, the team may end up treating him as a WR from a positional cap allocation perspective.
  7. mayoclinic

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    To give some sense of what extending Gronk and Hernandez may take, consider the following:

    1. The highest paid "non-movement" TE (or FlexEnd, to use OTG's terminology) include Dallas' Jason Witten (5 year/$37M deal with $19M guaranteed signed in 2011), Antonio Gates (5 year/$36.175M deal with $20.4M guaranteed signed in 2010), Heath Miller (6 year/$36.3M deal signed in 2009) and Tony Gonzalez (signed a 1 year/$7M extension for 2012). It's hard not to see Gronk exceeding those deals, probably by a substantial amount. $8M/year would seem like the lower limit, with $10M/year still reasonable compared to what WRs with similar production make.

    2. Green Bay's Jermichael Finley completed his rookie deal last year. His 4 year production totalled 1815 yards from scrimmage (all receiving), 137 receptions and 15 TDs. He was coming off a broken leg. But he still received the franchise tag designation from the Packers. Finley argued that he should be paid as a WR since he lines up as a WR a significant portion of the time. Green Bay - like the Pats a fairly conservative organization financially - disagreed. The two sides eventually decided on a "compromise" 2 year $14M deal to give them time to sort out his true market value.

    Packers, Jermichael Finley make deal with 2-year contract | National Football Post

    In comparison, Aaron Hernandez in only 2 years has accounted for 1565 yards from scrimmage (92 rushing and 1473 receiving), 124 receptions and 13 TDs. I think it's pretty hard to imagine Hernandez being extended for anything less than the $7M/year that Finley got, and probably more.

    It's hard to imaging the Pats paying 3 WR/TEs upwards of $7M/year in 2014. And assuming that Hernandez' money is allocated to the WR group because of the way he is used, that would put Hernandez in direct competition with the WR group, including Welker.
  8. Brady_to_Moss

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    #95 Jersey

    i just pray to all that is holy we keep both Gronk and Hernandez...
  9. Palm Beach Pats Fan

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    I just pray to all that is holy we keep Wes, Gronk, and Hernandez, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd most productive and most efficient so-called skill position players on the team, outside of their QB
  10. UK_Pat37

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    Been saying this for a long time. Welker isn't part of the future plan. Reflects in his contract offers.
  11. Off The Grid

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    Yep.

    I've been saying all along that while Wes Welker is The Greatest Slot End in the History of the Universe...

    1 ~ If you're in the business of winning Super Bowls ~ and we are ~ then of course you prioritize Hybrids like Rob Gronkowski and Aaron the Navigator over Welker, who is only dangerous as a Slot Receiver.

    2 ~ When the G+H RailRoad is up for a raise in 2 years ~ and I've been saying this all along ~ that is when I believe it makes sense to cut Welker loose, unless he's willing to extend at a greatly reduced rate: 2014 is where Age + Salary Cap converge to make that the right move for us, though I worship Wes Welker.

    3 ~ What we have here is an Historic 24 Month Window of Opportunity: Gronk, Hernandez, and Welker offer domination of the middle of the ChessBoard that no other team comes within light years of matching.

    4 ~ And ~ in stark contrast to the frustrations of the last 24 months ~ we now suddenly have an incredibly deep arsenal of talented, dangerous, and Patriot Proven Slot Ends and Flankers, in Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, and Donte StallWorth, to spread the Safeties out and give Gronkowski, Hernandez, and Welker far more room to navigate then they've ever had!! :eek:

    So I say: Let's keep Wes around for the next year or two, but then, yeah:

    Let's ride the G+H RailRoad for the decade!! :rocker:
  12. mayoclinic

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    Again, I suggested that the Pats' offense could actually be more effective without Welker weeks ago, and was ridiculed for it.

    Welker's a great weapon and used properly he can add a lot to the team. But he was overused last year, and I think his role will decrease. It's just not cost-effective to pay him big money for a long term deal.
  13. UK_Pat37

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    Don't worry, I wrote an article for Ian on here and got the same reaction, when I suggested we could trade Welker and survive! Get what you can whilst you can kind of situation!

    Whilst Welker is one of the greatest slot receivers to have played the game, there were times last year where our offense was terribly ineffective. When I looked at where Welker was, he was getting man handled. His lack of size and speed mean he isn't a natural slot end...and I don't think he ever will be either...granted he has some great stats, but Welker far from makes Brady. Welker would have success somewhere else, but to the extent here? Not so sure.

    Having a guy like Lloyd might change such a thing and make Welker even more dangerous though...however I don't see Welker having any value past two years...and only at minimal cost for a 3rd year. The Patriots seem to agree.
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  14. ctpatsfan77

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    The only potential fly in the ointment is whether or not Hernandez is willing to remain "second fiddle" to GRONK. . . .
  15. patfanken

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    I agree with the OP, but its not the only reason. Welker's age, size, and wear & tear also factor into the equation. The Pats can afford to pay him big money THIS season and he deserves it. But going forward it does not look likely the Pats can afford to pay him what he wants or even deserves.

    You also have to consider that the Pats have several WR's already on the roster that can fulfill the "Welker" role. Hernandez already has shown his can move well in the middle of the field, Edelman, Gonsales, and even Ebert all have "slot receiver" skill. And while none of them might be as good, short term, as Welker, they can be good enough to justify moving that money into other areas without hurting the overall offense.

    Nun, makes a good point. The focus of the offense is about to change. BB understands that defenses eventually catch up. To keep doing the same thing over and over, regardless of how successful it has been, is a recipe for defeat. They caught up with the spread, and they will catch up to the 2 TE's attack.

    Fortunately the Pats have led the way in these offensive evolutions. So while teams are now drafting to duplicate what the Pats already have; BB is already planning the "next move". Evolve or die.

    Wes was part of 2 great offensive systems. Unfortunately he is a diminishing asset at this point, with a year or 2 at best of peak performance. After that the Pats cannot afford to pay top dollar for a player who will be descending toward the norm. Its always better to be a year too early, than a year too late in these matters.

    Ultimately I think Wes has just 2 choices. Take a 2 year fully guaranteed contract in the $16MM range, or play this season for the $9.3MM and move on.
  16. Brady_to_Moss

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    But if you have to choose..you HAVE to take the two TEs..no question
  17. Deus Irae

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    Well, according to Robert Kraft, who seems to have some sort of important role with the team, the Patriots want to keep Welker for the long term.

    Kraft: "We'd like to see Welker a Patriot for life" | Patriots Blog | providencejournal.com | The Providence Journal

    According to a few people here, that's not true.

    According to at least one poster last year, Welker was going to be an impediment to Gronk and Hernandez, and having the 3 of them together was never going to work.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the Kraft guy might have a better feel for the pulse of the team than the other groups.
  18. borg

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    The Welker franchise tag now gives the Pats options next year. If they didn't tag him, Wes could be signed to a long term contract with another team right now....and Wes wouldn't even be in the roster discussion next year. Management knows Wes wants to be here if the money is equal.
    Gronk will be the priority next year. He's the TE that BB has been searching a lifetime for. Unfortunately, Gronk will be able to break the bank which may lead to an ugly contract stalemate with the franchise tag being applied.
    Hernandez is the interesting one here....He may not be viewed as max contract by New England, but other teams should dangle enough to pry him away.
    So BB has to prioritize....I don't see how all three get market contracts....and then you factor in Lloyd's money, Brady's, Mankins, ....not everyone can be paid by this team.
    Bottom line, Wes was franchised this year to be an option next year when the hard decision will have to be made.
    Who knows, injuries may make the decisions much easier....thus....having multiple options is very valuable
  19. brdmaverick

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    It still amazes me that so many people are quick to get rid of Tom Brady's greatest weapons, Wes Welker. He is the greatest slot receiver the Patriots have EVER had. I'm not sure we all quite grasp his importance to this team.
  20. ctpatsfan77

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    Fixed for accuracy. :D
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