WATCH WES WELKER'S INTRODUCTORY PRESS CONFERENCE IN DENVER LIVE ON COMCAST SPORTSNET DURING A SPECIAL EDITION OF SPORTSNET CENTRAL, WHICH WILL AIR FROM 5:30-6:30 P.M. EDT THURSDAY.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Wes Welker's signing was the highlight of a big day for the Denver Broncos, who once again made a major splash in free agency.
Coming off a 13-3 season during which the Broncos looked like a Super Bowl contender before losing to Baltimore in the division round of the playoffs, Denver executive vice-president John Elway attempting to get his team to the next level. Denver also came to terms on a two-year deal with defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, formerly of Jacksonville, and a one-year contract with linebacker Stewart Bradley, who played with the Cardinals the past two seasons. Later in the evening, the team added cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with a one-year deal.
But Welker, whose five 100-catch seasons are most in NFL history, was the big catch. He snared 118 passes for 1,354 yards and scored six touchdowns last year, helping the Pats go 12-4 and make the AFC title game before they also fell to Baltimore. He developed quite a rapport with Tom Brady during his six seasons with the Patriots.
"When you look at Wes in the middle of the field, you can't cover him," said Elway. "He does such a tremendous job of getting open, finding seams in zones, beating man-to-man coverage. So, he'll be a huge asset for us inside."
That the Broncos are signing a top player away from New England certainly didn't hurt, either.
"Anytime you can take a player from a team you have to compete against, it helps, especially the caliber of Wes Welker," Elway said. "New England is there year in and year out and that's a team we have to beat to get where we want to get."
"The Welker deal is a big deal. He's a great player and just another weapon on an already scary offense," said one of the new Broncos, Bradley. "He's definitely a dangerous player because you think he's covered and you throw the ball to him, he's going to catch it. He's so versatile in the slot. He's a durable guy. He has been as productive of a guy as there is in the NFL in the past five or six years.
"I think he'll be a great addition to the team."
Knighton couldn't agree more.
"Wes Welker, [Eric] Decker, Peyton Manning, [(Demaryius] Thomas - that will be hard to deal with for any defense in the league," Knighton said. "There are a few teams in the league that you could say actually have a chance of playing in the Super Bowl and this is definitely one of those places."
The loss of Welker caught some in the Boston area a little bit by surprise.
"Say it ain't so, Wes!" Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before their game against Toronto. "He was fun to watch."