One of the biggest question marks for the New England Patriots at the moment is the wide receiver position. Not only is a sizable chunk of the team’s 2019 depth chart headed for free agency — Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson are all set to hit the open market next month — the team also needs to look for a new position coach after Chad O’Shea left to become the Miami Dolphins’ new offensive coordinator.
One potential but ultimately unlikely option to fill O’Shea’s vacant role is now no longer available to be pursued: former Patriot Wes Welker was officially announced as the San Francisco 49ers’ new wide receivers coach yesterday. The 37-year-old certainly appears to be a coach on the rise in the NFL, after he spent the last two years working as an offensive assistant with the Houston Texans under head coach Bill O’Brien.
Welker, of course, rose to fame in New England. After starting his career primarily as a returnman with the then-San Diego Chargers and the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots acquired him via trade in 2007 and immediately turned him into one of the NFL’s most productive wide receivers. Over six years with the club, the former undrafted free agent appeared in 102 games, catching an eye-popping 741 passes for 8,145 yards and 41 touchdowns.
After earning five Pro Bowl nominations during his time in New England, Welker left during the 2013 free agency to join the Denver Broncos. After a short stint with the then-St. Louis Rams in 2015, the veteran hung up his cleats and changed the helmet for a headset: after a first attempt at the University of Tennessee, Welker joined the aforementioned Texans in an assistant role. Now, he has taken the next step in his coaching journey.
Whether or not it will lead him back to New England one day remains to be seen, but he certainly would have been an interesting addition as O’Shea’s successor. All speculation aside, it will be fascinating to watch Welker’s career path over the next few years and with young offensive coaches en vogue in the NFL.