Wes Welker deserves to get paid, but it's unclear whether the Patriots will be the team that pays him.
Mike Reiss offers his opinion on the Pats free-agent signing of DL Jonathan Fanene.
In agreeing to a free-agent contract with Bengals defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene, the Patriots played the role of the sniper. The team and Fanene agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal, with a $3.85 million signing bonus, without Fanene even visiting Gillette Stadium.
The lack of a free-agent visit for Fanene speaks to how the Patriots had him in their sights from the opening of free agency on Tuesday.
Fanene was a player they identified weeks ago as a primary target because of a combination of affordability, versatility, production and need.
Summing up the move: This isn't a sizzling free-agent signing, but it's a smart one.
Kirk Minihane tells us why a long-term deal for Wes Welker doesn't make sense for the Patriots.
... If he’s pissed about [not having a long-term contract, after all he's done], he has every right to be. Wes Welker is twice the football player Vincent Jackson is on Jackson’s best day. DeSean Jackson signed a $51 million contract on Wednesday. Yup, the same guy who was deactivated for skipping a team meeting and was benched for basically showing no balls against the Patriots last season while dropping a pair of TD passes (Welker had eight catches for 115 yards and two TDs in the same game) just got handed $51 million dollars strictly on potential. Forget about not being able to carry Wes Welker’s jock, DeSean Jackson wouldn’t even put forward the effort to try.
... Here’s the thing, though — it’s not going to change. We’ve now passed the point where a long-term deal makes sense for either side, really. If Welker (and agent David Dunn) are looking at these deals and truly believe that kind of money is what is deserved, they will never get it from Bill Belichick. Not going to happen.
The Patriots (meaning Belichick, of course) will correctly tell Welker and Dunn, in probably a kinder way, that just because the Buccaneers and Redskins are represented by morons who clearly overpaid for wide receiver value doesn’t mean the Patriots will follow down the path to dopedom.
... It’s a business, and right now it doesn’t make a lot of business sense to pay Welker what he deserves for three or four years. You slap him with the franchise tag and wait and see what happens. If it turns out that he’s again terrific they can hit him with the tag again in 2013. That’ll be about $11.5 million (120 percent of his 2012 salary), which would be $21 million guaranteed over two years. Could he do better on the open market? Maybe, but not by much. And if he blows out his knee or suffers a drop in production you can a) let him walk or b) potentially sign him to a more reasonable deal.
The Patriots are absolutely making the correct business decision here — at this point their hands are tied three times over. Assuming Welker doesn’t take a hometown discount (and $16 million for two years was serious lowball stuff before these crazy contracts were handed out, now it looks like a complete joke) it’s a no-brainer. Why hand out $30 million at once when you can wait and see what happens year-by-year?
And perhaps Welker does take a discount to say here, maybe he looks at Brady and Belichick and all the other stuff and realizes he’ll never be in a better situation. And maybe there is a middle ground. But if he and Dunn look at Vincent Jackson and Calvin Johnson and think that’s the template, they are going to be disappointed.
- Karen Guregian says in the past two days, free agent wideouts have taken turns hitting the lottery, and can't help but think Wes Welker is looking for his turn.
- Greg A. Bedard asserts Wes Welker deserves his own big haul.
- Paul Kenyon wonders if the Pats will pony up for Welker.
- Christopher Price gives us five thoughts on the second day of free agency, and how it relates to the Patriots.
- Mike Reiss shares some thoughts on DeSean Jackson's contract, and its trickle-down effect on Wes Welker.
- Mike Reiss checks in on the free agent trail, with some New England-related nuggets.
- Shalise Manza Young recaps the Patriots' day 2 of free agency.
- Tom E. Curran talks about the huge deals being handed out at the start of free agency, and wonders if these teams are getting better.
- Ian Rapoport notes Matthew Slater stood out in 2011 for his willingness to play whatever role the team asked of him.
- Christopher Price thinks DL Jonathan Fanene will provide the Patriots with an interior pass-rushing threat, and some rotational depth along the front.
- Ian Rapoport reports the signing of Jonathan Fanene exemplifies how the Patriots always put a premium on versatility, and emphasis on value.
- Tom E. Curran says DL Jonathan Fanene is excited to be heading to Foxboro, with a perennial contender, as opposed to Cincinnati.
- Mike Reiss reports LB Tracy White has agreed to terms with the Patriots.
- Mike Reiss notes the Patriots are hosting free-agent safety Steve Gregory today at Gillette Stadium.
- Ian Rapoport reports the Patriots will host ex-Colts WR Anthony Gonzales for a visit.
- Nick Underhill notes Brandon Spikes tweeted that he hopes the Patriots sign Mike Wallace because "He's blazing fast !!!!"
- Christopher Price lists the upcoming schedule of Pro Days.
- James Walker (ESPN) How WR signings impact Wes Welker.
- James Walker (ESPN) BenJarvus Green-Ellis drawing interest.
- Adam Watson (Yahoo! Sports) Ochocinco treats fans at Harlem restaurant.
- Updates (SI) 2012 Free Agent Tracker: AFC and NFC by team.
- Chris Burke (SI) Free agency early winners and losers.
- Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) Bucs, Cowboys big winners in second day of free agency.
- Clifton Brown (Sporting News) Mario Williams among the big-ticket players still available in free agency.
- Instant Debate (NFL.com) Bang for the buck? Wide receivers offer no guarantees.
- Andrew Brandt (Nat'l Football Post) Catching contracts.
- backup QB now a priority in the NFL? (Nat'l Footall Post) Is the
- Jason Whitlock (Fox Sports) NFL Truths: March madness.