Now that’s a loaded headline. I want to touch on three things in this post.
1) What it means for Welker to get the Pats to slap a franchise tag on him.
2) Speculation of Mario Williams coming to New England.
3) Peyton manning wearing a Jets Jersey – and the bullshit rainstorm of awfulness that would come out of the Jets backfield if he signs on to drink the Rex Ryan Cool-aid.
As for Welker… All I can say is that the two sides could be in for a long, Mankins-like battle unless a tender is signed.
Wes Welker now has a major decision to make. Will the Patriots wide receiver skip off-season workouts and possibly hold out of camp after being franchised by the organization Monday, or does he sign a $9.4 million tender and guarantee himself that salary for this upcoming season?
The tag move by the Patriots means that it is more than likely that Welker will be in a New England uniform in 2012. And to be honest, I’m GLAD. He’s my favorite wide-out and is known for his rock-like grip and being able to catch (NEARLY) everything. The 30-year-old receiver led the league in catches in 2011 with 122 but took plenty of heat following Superbowl XLVI against the Giants after he dropped a difficult pass from Tom Brady late in the fourth quarter. (Even though he had 19 receptions with 168 yards in the 2011 playoffs – which seemed to be so easily forgotten)
Whats the silver lining in all of this talk of trading Welker (my personal favorite Pats player of all time)? One piece of speculation recently heard on WEEI – we could just possibly land DE Mario Williams.
Going back to that Mario Williams speculation that I addressed above… Sports Illustrated’s Peter King appeared on WEEI’s Mut and Merloni show and mentioned the possibility of Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams coming to New England.
“Unless Mario Williams takes a fraction of what everyone thinks he’s going to get – that means that Mario Williams is going to be out on the market for somebody.” King said. “And I wrote this morning, in my opinion I think the Patriots ought to be at the absolute very least kicking the financial tires on Mario Williams, because he can play so many different places on a defense. I think he’d fit in very well with the Patriots.”
While it’s true that we are MASSIVELY hurting in the secondary, and could use any help we can get, would Mario Williams solve the patriots DE/Safety issues that were so blatantly apparent in the 2011 season? I doubt it, but he might bring some experience, leadership, and talent to an otherwise rookie, misguided and accident prone secondary. Don’t get me wrong, I would draft him immediately given the chance, but I doubt he would hit the market looking to take a pay cut. And even if he did – would the Patriots be willing to shell out an additional 4-million to just get him on their roster? Probably not.
Lastly — Let the Peyton Manning sweepstakes begin — and make no mistake, the Jets will be entrants.
The Indianapolis Colts will reportedly cut the four-time MVP quarterback at a press conference today, setting off a free-agency frenzy for his services.
The Jets will be right in the middle of it. A source said last night the Jets definitely will explore the possibility of signing Manning. The team needs to see how healthy he is before deciding its level of commitment, but it will be in the mix.
And I saw this coming from a mile away. Why wouldn’t the Jets want him? They have the Coach that wants him, the epic secondary, the talented wide-outs, the heavy O-line, and the deep purse to pay for him. Not to mention that I would start to completely hate all New York football fans in the foreseeable future.
There’s two major reasons that the Jets will do everything they can to put Peyton on their roster:
1) Sibling Rivalry
If Manning came to New York, it would create a serious sibling rivalry. Right now his younger brother Eli Manning is king as quarterback of the New York Giants. Eli is coming off his second Super Bowl Championship. With big brother Peyton in town, it would be media overload. Peyton and Eli would compete for headlines, whether they want to or not. Although the Jets and Giants are not scheduled to face each other in 2012, the NFL will surely match them up in preseason. That would be downright fun.
2) Manning vs. Brady x 2
With Manning on the Jets, he would face New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady twice. Those would marquee match-ups that any NFL fan would want to see.
With these two tandem facts facing the Jets this off-season, why wouldn’t they take the bait, pay the money and potentially secure themselves a spot in future playoff games?
At the end of the day, there will be plenty of news spinning headlines tonight, but the real question is, where will the cards fall? This is only speculation after all. If all goes as predicted, we will surely be in for one hell of a season.