Sports

Analysis

Expect Wes Welker to stay with Patriots

Everybody take a deep breath and relax.

There have been multiple, conflicting reports the past couple days about Wes Welker and the Patriots.

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My advice: ignore the noise that dominates this time of year because things happen so quickly.

The bottom line is this: not much has changed since my off-season primer piece -- Welker is expected to remain with the Patriots on a new multi-year contract at some point, according to multiple sources. Yes, anything can happen when a player hits free agency, but the odds are strong that he remains with the Patriots. It would be an upset if that didn’t happen.

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Don’t read anything into the fact that a deal hasn’t been done yet. It means nothing.

As for Jason Cole’s Yahoo! report on the Welker situation, I had a few thoughts on that as well:

• First off, Cole’s one of the best. Been a mentor of mine since my South Florida days. He doesn’t write for clicks or attention, unlike some people out there;

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• What he wrote was accurate, but some of the stuff is dated;

• Welker had “mild disdain” – actually, a lot more than mild – for what happened early in the season (specifically the Arizona game) and it did stick in his craw for most of the season. I didn’t write he was being phased out for no reason. But, Welker and Bill Belichick got past that at some point during the season. I think the team began to see Welker in a new light after everyone else kept getting hurt, yet Welker endured and so did the offense;

• Welker never complained internally or externally about what was going on, which earns points from the Patriots;

• Yes, last season did leave a little paranoia in the Welker camp about how the team sees him. But that’s also a byproduct from the way Belichick operates. There isn’t much communication from him on what’s going and why, Belichick just expects the player to fill the role they tell them to;

• The improved relations between the team and Welker was the impetus for the story that I wrote before the Texans’ playoff game. Both sides have largely moved past that. But Welker isn’t just going to forget that. However, like I said, that’s in the past and both sides are in a new place.

I expect Welker to remain with the Patriots. Is there a chance it might not happen? Sure. The two sides got very close to a deal last year after Welker signed his franchise tag, but couldn’t get it done. This does not seem like the same situation. I think the Patriots have chosen their path, and it’s only a matter of time before it gets done.

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