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This wasn't the way it was supposed to be for Welker, who was an unrestricted veteran free agent for the first time in his career. When asked Thursday what Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway said to him to close the deal, Welker told reporters he was actually the one doing the "pitching."
So more than anything, this was about Welker thinking that market would be kinder to him, while the Patriots were fighting the early free-agency clock.
As for the temptation to think that the club's move away from Welker is reflective of a shifting of their offensive philosophy, it isn't. The offense naturally evolves each season, but that had nothing to do with the decision. In fact, part of the reason the Patriots felt like a quick decision had to be made was that if there was one player on the market who most closely resembled Welker as a potent option in the slot, it was Amendola. There was really no one else.
As for Welker, he ultimately found himself in a tough spot. He's a player whose expertise is reading coverages and adjusting accordingly; reading the free-agent market and relying on the professional advice of others to help guide him is something altogether different.
Maybe it all works out for the best and the move to Denver is the best thing to happen to him. But on Thursday, it seemed like everything was still too fresh, part of his heart with his new team, the other part still back in New England.