Wes Welker leaves Patriots, signs two-year deal with Broncos

Posted March 13, 2013, at 5:34 p.m.
Last modified March 14, 2013, at 8:29 a.m.

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New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) misses a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 11, 2012.
David Butler II | US PRESSWIRE
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) misses a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 11, 2012.

Wide receiver Wes Welker reached an agreement on a two-year, $12-million deal with the Denver Broncos, the NFL Network reported Wednesday.

Welker, one of the top unrestricted free agents available, had 118 receptions for 1,354 yards and six touchdowns in 2012 with the New England Patriots. It was his fifth 100-catch season — an NFL record — with the Patriots.

“Agreed on a 2-yr deal with Wes Welker,” John Elway, the Broncos’ vice president of football operations wrote on Twitter. “Excited to have Wes join Broncos. His production & toughness will be a great asset!.”

Welker played last season for $9.5 million, the terms applied under the franchise designation, and he and the Patriots reportedly remained far apart in negotiations toward a long-term deal.

The 31-year-old is considered an ideal fit in the Patriots’ offense, but the Broncos offer many of the same perks Welker found in New England.

The Patriots moved quickly to replace Welker, agreeing to a deal with former St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola.

Amendola got a five-year, $31 million deal with the Patriots, according to multiple media reports. Amendola’s contract reportedly will pay him a guaranteed $10 million.

Amendola, 27, had 63 catches for 666 yards and three touchdowns last year in his fourth season with the Rams. He missed five games due to a chest injury.

Amendola set career highs in 2010 with 85 catches for 689 yards.

Welker, 31, played last season for $9.5 million, the terms applied under the franchise designation, and he and the Patriots reportedly remained far apart in negotiations toward a long-term deal.

Denver acquired Peyton Manning in free agency last March and has two promising young receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, to form a potent passing attack that could become lethal by adding Welker as a slot receiver.

Brandon Stokley was the primary No. 3 receiver for the Broncos last season. It’s an essential spot in the Broncos’ no-huddle offense. Stokley caught 45 passes for 544 yards.

 

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