Wes Welker Down-and-Out in Denver?


The moment news broke that Wes Welker was headed to Denver, Broncos Country was in a tizzy.

The best slot receiver in the NFL would improve the already potent Peyton Manning-led offense and give the Broncos another weapon. What he was able to pull with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots … there was no limit to what could happen with Manning.

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Welker’s first season was just as good as anyone expected. It was actually better than that since he helped Denver field the best offense in the history of the NFL. Welker was one of four guys to catch at least 10 touchdowns.

Despite the flop in the Super Bowl, when John Elway signed Emmanuel Sanders the thought was the offense could get even better. That didn’t happen.

Sanders was a definite upgrade over Eric Decker but that was all that lived up to expectations. C.J. Anderson emerged as the No. 1 running back, and coupled with Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison the running game will undoubtedly improve.

Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) runs the ball in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 47-14. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Demaryius Thomas is one of the best receivers in the NFL and isn’t going anywhere. Virgil Green will take over at tight end for Julius Thomas. And the offensive line will get better with hopeful additions Elway signs in free agency (psst, Bryan Bulaga) and keeps (Orlando Franklin).

As I wrote about earlier today, Cody Latimer is the perfect receiver for the new coaching staff and the system. If there was a mold for a wide out in this offense, Latimer fits it. When he gets the chance, I have no doubt that he will flourish.

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That leaves Welker, and unless he takes a monstrous pay cut, he’s done in Denver. Whether he decides to retire or continue to play, it won’t be with the Broncos, which isn’t much of a change to what he brought this season anyway.

When Latimer emerges as the third receiver, there’s no point to have Welker stand on the sideline and take up a roster spot. Unless he takes a severe pay cut – even then, it still probably won’t happen.

It’s not for me to decide whether he retires or keeps playing. That’s his and his family’s decision. It is his life, and if someone told me what to do with mine, I know how I would respond.

But one aspect we can rule out right now is that if Welker plays next season it will not be in a Broncos uniform.

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Dec 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) returns a punt during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports