NFL Trade Deadline: Who'll Win The Wes Welker Sweepstakes?
Corey Dillon led Bill Belichick's most prolific rushing attack back in 2004 en route to New England's third Lombardi Trophy in four years, in comeback and mature fashion.
Two seasons later, he was dumped as if convicted for the murder of O.J. Simpson.
The following offseason, the Patriots acquired Oakland's disheveled Randy Moss via a Draft-day trade in exchange for merely a fourth-round selection, only to be polished once more and make NFL history with 23 single-season receiving touchdowns.
Although the deep threat appeared to still be there in 2010, however, the diva was unloaded to Minnesota (and then Tennessee) just in time. Such is the Patriot way when it comes to the evaluation of their players.
Roughly a quarter of this premature 2012 campaign has transpired, and Wes Welker has followed up his first two bleak performances (a collective 8 receptions, 109 yards, zero scores and decreased snaps) with a mini-revelation (17 catches for 171 yards). What explains the frightful roller coaster ride?
Was Welker losing playing time as punishment for his Super Bowl drop and proceeding refusal to sign his franchise tender? Is he just resurfacing because of injuries to Aaron Hernandez and "cog" Julian Edelman? Were Weeks One and Two simply an anomaly for a man who has collected receptions throughout the years as though they were trick-or-treat candy and these trendy new toys called Gogos?
It could be that coaches, scouts, and replacement refs are signaling the decline of Wes Welker before both Boston dwellers and casual fans can honestly see it for themselves, hence the trade rumors.
The NFL's trade deadline is hardly explored, especially in comparison to other sports, but Roger Goodell ever-so-considerately extended it to midway point for the sake of creating more drama and intrigue (because we're so hungry we could eat another zebra).
That being said, while it's definitely arguable that Welker has not yet maxed out his worth to Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels' potent offensive unit, no other franchise would aggrandize their value by the end of October more effectively than the New England Patriots.
Of course, teams should be lining up to participate in the sweepstakes, but who would (or should) fundamentally claim the wide receiver that is feared to only be thriving in the handicap of his current offense?
On to the bracket:
1. Miami Dolphins (3) - Trading Welker away to the Patriots originally was the franchise's biggest mistake since...um...and future material reveals itself.
2. New York Jets (6) - If Mark Sanchez is going to miraculously retain his starting job, then SOMETHING needs to be done for the passing game/secondary/punt coverage.
3. New England Patriots - They would accumulate numerous Draft picks from themselves, but not for the sake of this exercise, Spygaters.
4. Buffalo Bills - No one poses a huge threat in the receiving corps aside from Steve Johnson, but New England would most likely ask for Mark Anderson back in return.