In 2004, the Miami Dolphins signed a recently released wide receiver from the San Diego Chargers. Coming out of Texas Tech, Wes Welker had been undrafted, before being signed by the Chargers for training camp. Eventually, the team would attempt to sign him to their practice squad, but the Dolphins were looking to use him on the active roster, and he headed to Florida.
Welker would spend three years with the Dolphins, developing into a high successful slot receiver, and shining on special teams. During his rookie year, Welker became just the second player in NFL history to return a kick, return a punt, kick an extra point, kick a field goal, and make a tackle in one game.
After the 2006 season, the Dolphins offered Welker, a restricted free agent, a second round tender, with a $1.35 million one-year contract. However, the New England Patriots suddenly came into the picture, and looked ready to snatch the wide out from the Dolphins. The Patriots were free to negotiate a contract with Welker, but Miami would have had seven days to match.
So, the Patriots were looking to add a poison pill to the deal. Essentially, New England was looking to add a stipulation stating that if Welker played a certain number of games (around 5) in the state of Florida, a huge bonus would kick in. That bonus would prevent the Dolphins from being able to match the offer, and New England would be able to sign Welker, sending a second round pick to Miami for him.
In the end, rather than officially put the poison pill into an offer, the Patriots worked out a trade with the Dolphins, sending their 2007 second and seventh round picks to Miami for Welker.
Since arriving in New England, Welker has caught the most passes in the league - 80 passes more than anyone else over that span.
But, now the Patriots are left in the same position as the Dolphins. Welker is most likely going to be a free agent this offseason. There's a good chance that New England will throw the franchise tag on Welker, paying him the average of the salaries of the top five wide receivers in the game. But, the Patriots also don't want to pay Welker as a top wide receiver, given his role is really as a slot receiver, not a typical number one. And, the Patriots historically aren't afraid of letting a veteran player walk away, rather than over paying for him.
But, could the Patriots really let Welker walk away? And, would the Dolphins be interested in bringing him back? Miami already has Davone Bess filling the slot receiver role, so how would Welker even fit?
I don't see the Dolphins going for Welker, even if he some how does not end up back in New England, which I think is a near certainty. But, I do really enjoy the idea of him being back in a Dolphins jersey, mostly just because he wouldn't be in a Patriots jersey anymore.
What do you think?