Scott Cordischi On Sports: Welker’s Loyalty Not Returned By Patriots
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Wes Welker learned a valuable lesson this week. He learned that when it comes to doing business with the New England Patriots, that loyalty isn’t a two-way street.
Welker learned Monday at 4pm that the Patriots were not interested in giving him a lucrative multi-year contract like the one he was seeking. Instead, they were happy to pony up the $9.5 million in salary this season to pay him as their “franchise” player.
Yes, when it comes to the business of football, the New England Patriots mean business. They will pay whom they want to pay and how much they want to pay them and nothing more. Wes Welker learned this the hard way.
In the National Football League, a player’s leverage when it comes to getting paid is the threat of holding out is they do not receive the deal that they want. Welker knew this, but made it clear that he would not hold out if he could not reach a long-term deal with New England and, instead, he signed the franchise tender.
Welker did this because he is a man of principle. He assumed that showing a little loyalty to the Patriots might buy him a little in return from the organization. Fat chance!
Since 2007, no receiver in the NFL has had more receptions than Welker including a league-leading 122 catches last season. Some might argue that he is a product of the Patriots’ system and playing alongside Tom Brady. Fair enough. But he has just concluded a 5-year, $18 million contract, a deal he outperformed by a large margin.
But the Patriots don’t care about what you did yesterday. They want to know what you can do for them tomorrow. And, obviously, they have some questions as to how long the 31-year old Welker can perform at such a high level.
No one epitomizes the “Patriot Way” of doing things more than Welker. He is a hard-working, selfless player who says and does the right thing. At the end of the 2009 season, he suffered a torn ACL leaving many to wonder how he would perform after having surgery. Two seasons, 208 receptions, 2,417 yards and 16 touchdowns later, I think we have our answer.
There have been many players who have given into the Patriots in contract negotiations because of their desire to remain a part of a winning organization. But there have also been some who have challenged the Patriots and many of them have cashed in.
Richard Seymour, Assante Samuel, Deion Branch and Logan Mankins are a few examples of those who made it clear that they would not bow at the altar of Bob Kraft and, as a result, they got paid. The squeaky wheels got the grease.
Meanwhile, Welker tried to play the good soldier and all that it got him was a 1-year deal.
I guess it’s true when they say that nice guys often finish last.
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