Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) reacts after dropping a pass against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier this month there was speculation that Denver Broncos wideout Wes Welker could be calling it a career, with reports citing lack of production and his concussion history as factors that had the veteran weighing a retirement following the 2014 season that ended with a loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
However Welker has made it official that he wants to keep playing in the NFL going forward on Monday, claiming that he wants to play two more seasons even if he is an upcoming free agent and has serious concussion issues that have played a role in dipped production since leaving Tom Brady to play with Peyton Manning’s Broncos.
Welker had a cap number of $6 million per season according to Over The Cap, but will likely resign with the Broncos or hit the open market as a free agent with retirement not an option according to the Denver Post who learned that the veteran will not be hanging up his helmet just yet.
Welker will be an interesting free agent should he try moving on from the Broncos, unfortunately due to the fact that he has an injury history that makes him a shell of his former self based on his statistics over the past two seasons. After years of being a guaranteed 100 catch wideout, Welker didn’t match that mark over two years with the Broncos, partly due to the fact that he missed large chunks of play due to concussions.
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NFL general managers will be left to decide if Welker has anything left to give, and if those concussions will be a serious issue in his ability to continue to safely play football over the next two seasons. Oakland Raiders fans know how serious concussions can play into being able to stay onto the field as middle linebacker Nick Roach missed all of 2014 with complications from a concussion which is something that is always a factor with a player like Welker with a long history of brain injury.
However Welker isn’t going to concede to the potential risk of continuing his career and will likely be looking for a new team should the Broncos move on, giving teams the chance for a player who can be serviceable when healthy.
After all Welker is just one year removed from a 10 touchdown season over 13 games and two seasons removed from a season where he compiled 1354 yards so if a team makes the risk on the 33 year old it will be based on the upside of an experienced player who has the potential to be a dangerous secondary weapon at the slot receiver position.
The injury risk will be there with Welker, but it will likely come with a value, low-risk contract because of the potential of concussions ending the career of Welker at any turn. Many will debate whether or not Welker should just call it a career when he can on his own terms, but it is his personal choice to keep playing into 2015 and beyond. That leaves the onus on NFL general managers and head coaches to make the decision on just how much Welker has to give despite his concussion risk, something that will have a spotlight during free agency as Welker will be one of the veteran names up for grabs starting in early March.