Unfortunately I don’t. Not because I don’t want Welker back but because it’s just a long shot that they’d be able to figure out a long term contract this off-season if they couldn’t do it last year. And to franchise him again makes zero sense because you’d in effect be paying him in two years what you didn’t want to pay him over three plus years.
It’s unfortunate but I still think the Patriots will be okay offensively. They’ve been in the top 10 in points scored almost every year Belichick has been here and that was even before Welker. No question he’s a great player and it will be a significant loss to overcome, but the combination of Hernandez, Gronk and Edelman will soften the blow and allow them to continue to have solid receivers who can control the middle of the field.
The offense will evolve again, but they also have a stable of young running backs, including Jeff Demps who is on IR, that could make for an interesting next generation Patriots attack.
There’s no question they’ll have to add some receivers this off-season if Welker does walk away which will be interesting given their difficulties finding guys who Brady can trust.
It will be sad to see Welker go, but the Patriots will be okay.