Silencing Hank: Wes Welker Edition

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

With Free Agency underway and Wes Welker still unsigned, you can bet that Hank is on the prowl.

Well, here we are. Another March, another Free Agent Frenzy, and another quiet day from the New England Patriots. It's exactly what we've come to expect in Patriots Nation, and while there are some of us out there who are freaking out, most of us are keeping a level head. Sure, the Wes Welker storyline makes this Free Agency period a little more interesting than years past, but for the most part, it's business as usual over in Foxborough.

Try telling that to Hank.

Hank is freaking out - again. He is interpreting what has transpired over the last few hours as a surfire sign that the Patriots are doomed - again. And he is all but convinced that Wes Welker has dropped caught his last pass from Tommy B. And if Hank is screaming, then I'm sure that there are people out there who could use a Silencing Hank article today.

But Alec, we're five plus hours into Free Agency and the Patriots haven't signed Welker yet! What in the hell are they waiting for???

Shut up, Hank. Yes, Welker is still a free agent - as in, he has yet to sign with any team. The way I see it, with all of the early movement that has been going on today, other teams have had plenty of chances to lure Welker away with a big-time offer, and yet he remains unsigned. That leads me to believe that either he hasn't been getting the kind of money he was hoping for or that his ties to the Patriots are stronger than everyone wants us to think. So you'll excuse me if I don't start freaking out until I hear that Welker is about to sign with another team.

WELKER IS ABOUT TO SIGN WITH ANOTHER TEAM????!!!! What are you talking about? That can't happen! How will the Patriots possibly function without Wes Welker?

Shut up, Hank. I don't want to see him go any more than you do. But you know what? That's the NFL. Teams lose players all the time. Sometimes those players are huge hometown favorites who have been incredibly productive during their tenure, and it hurts to see them go. But business is business, and my loyalty to the Patriots remains unflinching. Should Welker walk, then the Patriots have a reason for it and will be bringing in another receiver to lessen the blow. And if that does happen, I'll happily wager a slap bet with you that whoever replaces Welker has a more productive year than Wes does (unless he goes to the Broncos; if Denver signs him the slap bet is off). And as much as losing Welker will suck, I think the worst part of that scenario is how many articles about the selfish, greedy Patriots we'll all have to endure. You figure that year after year of Belichick's system working very well would have granted him immunity from the "his pride and impersonal coldness has cost him another great player" garbage, but there doesn't seem to be an end in sight there. The bottom line is that the Patriots won without him in the past, and they will be able to win without him in 2013 if they have to. But let's try to stay positive, OK?

But Alec, Tom Brady made a huge sacrifice to keep Welker around! If the Patriots don't resign him, Tommy B is going to be furious!

Shut up, Hank. Brady took less money than he was worth so he could help give the Patriots the best possible chance to win. Should that mean they sign Welker, great. Should that mean Welker goes elsewhere and the team brings in talent from outside the organization, then that's fine too. I'm sure that Brady would love to have Welker back, but I don't think that resigning him was an additional clause in Tommy B's contract. As they always do, the Patriots will sign the players that will give the team the best possible chance to win - Welker or not.

But Alec, the Patriots haven't signed ANYBODY yet! the Miami Dolphins have already signed like 75 players! We're going to lose the AFC East!!

Shut up, Hank. Didn't you say the exact same thing last year? How often do the Patriots make a huge splash in Free Agency? Let the fans of the teams that are making a lot of moves right now have their moment of optimism and excitement; I'd rather save mine for January 2014. There are still a TON of free agents on the market, including Wes Welker, Aqib Talib, and Sebastian Vollmer, and I'm happy to patiently wait until Day 2 or 3 for the Pats to get some real value players that fill specific needs and can be had without breaking the bank or send Adam Schefter reaching for his Blackberry -which, if anyone put it on the top shelf, is going to take a few phone books. There are always a few teams that make a lot of noise early, but there are also a lot of teams that haven't done anything yet. Let's all just relax and give it some time.

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