While the Patriots and Welker appeared to be close to making an agreement on a new deal in recent days, the situation has suddenly become much more complicated.
First came the news that Welker was none too pleased with how the Patriots treated him last season, and that he might be willing to test the free-agent market and see which other teams are interested. Then reports arose that the Patriots are willing to let Welker go, and that they have plans to sign the Rams’ Danny Amendola — a virtual Welker clone — on the first day of free agency.
That could either be a negotiating tactic to get Welker to sign, or it could be the final “good riddance” from an organization that has been lukewarm at best when it comes to locking up Welker long-term.
Now, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, Welker is calling the Patriots’ bluff. He plans to test the free-agent market, which opens March 12, Schefter says.
Patriots free-agent WR Wes Welker has no plans to re-sign with New England before first testing the free-agent market next week.—
Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 06, 2013
If the Patriots follow through and sign Amendola, that will certainly be the end of Welker in New England, as the Patriots would not pay two players to fill the slot position. Despite Welker’s solid numbers over the years, and his connection with quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots have developed plenty of other offensive options in tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez as well as slot man Julian Edelman.