Branch and Winslow In, Welker Out….

Posted September 17, 2012 by Jason Balla in Sports
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Does the two most recent New England Patriot signings of free agents Kellen Winslow and Deion Branch have Wes Welker concerned?  These moves were reported yesterday along with welcoming back linebacker Niko Koutouvides.  The Patriots made roster room by releasing wide receiver Greg Salas, running back Lex Hilliard and linebacker Mike Rivera.

In the wake of the Aaron Hernadez’s ankle injury, Winslow and former Super Bowl MVP Branch look to bolster Tom Brady’s options.  Branch, who is now 33 years of age, was unexpectedly cut on August 31.  Branch hopes to continue to have familiarity with Brady.  In Branch’s second stint with Patriots back in the 2010 season he grabbed 9 passes for 98 yards and touchdown in the overtime win over this week’s AFC foe the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving day.  The stats prove that Branch will continue to be an outlet for Brady.  Last season Branch had 51 catches for 702 yards and 5 touchdowns.  The signing of Winslow does not come as a surprise considering he was on the Patriots short list of players, despite failing a physical two weeks ago in New England.  Seattle released Winslow, only 29 years of age, earlier this month.  It will interesting to see how the relationship with Brady and head coach Bill Belichick will transpire with the eccentric Winslow.  Winslow does have a very familiar skill set as Hernadez and could fit well in the offensive scheme.

So what does all this mean for Wes Welker?  On Sunday against the Cardinals, Welker played 63 snaps and finished the game with 5 receptions for 95 yards, seems to be a full state line, right?  Considering, Welker’s backup Julian Edelman played 12 more plays on Sunday coinciding with the signings of Branch and Winslow, and lucrative contract extensions for Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernadez should have the All-Pro franchise tendered Welker remaining confused.  Welker wants to be paid like the top receiver that he continues to be.  Belichick could be getting his vengeance against Welker for the way negotiations went over the summer.  Welker is currently rumored to be asking for a trade.  So, is benching Welker and losing to the Cardinals only the beginning, Coach?


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