Wes Welker - Al Bello
Wes Welker has left the New England Patriots, joining Peyton Manning with the Denver Broncos. Will the New England Patriots now make a run at Victor Cruz of the Giants?
[UPDATE: The Patriots have reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with Danny Amendola. Maybe they really didn't mind Wes Welker moving on.]
Wes Welker has agreed to bolt the New England Patriots for the Denver Broncos, agreeing to a two-year deal. That news was tweeted late Wednesday afternoon by Denver's John Elway. That is a stunning development for the New England Patriots, and for New York Giants' fans might make you a little more nervous about the future of Victor Cruz.
Since Cruz, a restricted free agent, received a first-round tender from the Giants, the question has been whether any NFL team would step up to the plate and be willing to surrender the draft and offer Cruz both the mega-deal it would require to pry him away from the Giants.
There were some reports via Twitter that the Patriots were thinking of making a run at Cruz before he switched agents a few days ago, going with the high-powered Tom Condon. Perhaps now, with the favorite wide receiver for Tom Brady having moved on, New England will consider making that run. The Patriots, per Spotrac, had about $25 million is cap space at last report. Over The Cap lists the amount closer to $21 million. Either way, it's a considerable amount.
Danny Amendola, a free-agent slot receiver who spent four seasons with the St. Louis Rams, has been considered the most logical replacement for Welker in New England. Amendola caught 85 passes in 2010, but played only one game in 2011 and 10 games in 2012, when he caught 59 passes.
Pro Football Talk reported Wednesday that Amendola feels slot receivers like himself, Cruz and Welker are "getting screwed" in free agency, and that he might simply return to the Rams.
If he does that, or if the Patriots simply decide that his injury history -- missing time with elbow, ankle, knee and foot issues -- makes him unreliable, would they turn to Cruz?
Stay tuned. We might be about to find out.