Another solid game overshadowed by a bad drop could become the lasting image for New England Patriots All-Pro receiver Wes Welker. With his contract up could he jump ship for the up-and-coming Houston Texans?
Tom Brady about to lose his most reliable receiver
The AFC championship loss to Baltimore was probably more painful to Patriot fans than their Super Bowl defeat a year ago. This time New England had the best offense in football, a better defense than last season, home field and a team they beat last year in the same game. Only this time it wasn't a narrow loss. The Patriots were outfoxed, outmuscled and outplayed the entire second half. Their 28-13 humiliation has many wondering if the Tom Brady era has finally ended. With the loss the future Hall of Fame quarterback loses another chance to get his fourth ring and could lose his favorite receiver when free agency opens in March. Welker spent most of his time in New England catching for first downs and making Pro Bowls but sadly Patriot fans will remember him more for what he didn't do. Last season he had a bad drop in the Super Bowl against New York. In a bitter twist the same thing happened again in Foxborough when he dropped a first down throw that took points off the board. It wasn't the reason the Patriots lost but many will think that way. That is why Welker, at age 32, likely won't return.
Texans need more than Andre Johnson for Matt Schaub
Not that it matters. There is no shortage of teams that would love to bring the dynamic slot receiver onto their offenses. One team that could get the most benefits from him is the Houston Texans. For all their dominance running the football in 2012, the upstart squad suffered a serious lack of explosiveness in the passing game. Aside from Andre Johnson, quarterback Matt Schaub didn't have a consistent second target to look to. This forced him to rely heavily on tight end Owen Daniels and running back Arian Foster. In fact the top three receivers after Johnson combined for 22 catches total. That is not part of a championship blueprint. Head coach Gary Kubiak and the front office must know this and need to start thinking about finding help. Though normally a draft-first team, the Texans should consider opening the coffers to sign Welker. He would instantly draw attention away from Johnson and Daniels while also giving the running game extra options as well. If Houston ever wants to realize their dream with Schaub, then they can't afford to put their faith in a rookie.
Wes Welker may not make big catches but his time with the New England Patriots proved his big numbers can only help a team. The Houston Texans should take note of that when free agency starts.
Photo Credit - Jim Rogash