Black smoke billowed out from the light tower at Gillette Stadium last night, indicating that the Patriots had yet to make a move in free agency. That smoke then made it’s way down to Charlotte, where it infested the hearts and lungs of the Celtics, before heading up to Pittsburgh, just in time for the third period of the Bruins-Pens game.
The smoke then stopped by your house, ran over your dog, knocked out your cable, and asked your non-pregnant wife when she was due.
Stupid smoke. Stupid day.
3/12/13: NEVER REMEMBER
But while it was an all-around uneventful and/or upsetting 24 hours in Boston sports, for now let‘s just focus on football. After all, what’s the point in stressing over the C’s regular season, when the team itself has flipped the switch to “PLAYOFFS”? And as frustrating as the Bruins loss was, a look at the Eastern Conference standings should temporarily extinguish the fire in your pants. On the other hand . . . the Pats.
And by the Pats, I mean Wes Welker.
It’s been a while since we’ve experienced a free-agent situation quite as complex, confusing and emotional as what’s going on right now with No. 83. In some ways, I’d compare it to what went down last summer between Ray Allen and the Celtics, but even that falls short.
The Ray saga was more a matter of loyalty, family and rivalry. While it burned to watch him walk away, he’s become nearly irrelevant in the aftermath of doing so. He plays only 25 minutes and scores 10 points a night for Miami. It’s easy to forget that he’s even there. And while that might change once the playoffs roll around — especially if those playoffs feature a Heat-Celtics rematch — Allen’s season in South Beach is an afterthought here in Boston. The Celtics don’t miss him that much. Miami doesn’t need him that much. It’s kind of a wash.
But Welker means much more than that to the Patriots. He’ll leave an enormous hole in their attack, not to mention Tom Brady’s heart. And if you thought things got chippy in the media once Ray split town, can you imagine what will happen with Wes? He’s got six years of repressed emotions stuffed into that pint-sized frame. Who knows what he might say, or how he’ll choose to say it. Just know that it will be ugly. It won’t be a good look for anyone. And on the field, Welker won’t fade into the background on whatever new team he’s on. He’ll be in the forefront. He’s not going anywhere. He’s not David Givens.
But, of course, the question is: Will we even get there?
Conventional wisdom still says no. Tom E. Curran, Greg Bedard and all the folks with more knowledge of the situation than you or I still contend that New England is Welker’s most likely landing place. That it would be an upset if he ended up anywhere else. And when you take step back from the madness and look at things with clear eyes and a full heart, it truly looks like a Pats/Welker reunion can’t lose. But in today’s crazy world of Twitter and the 24-hour news cycle, it sure is hard to keep that perspective.
It’s exceedingly impossible to avoid the emotional roller coaster, to not take each new piece of information as gospel and read into everything far more than you ever should . . .
Ian Rapapport tweets:
And you’re convinced Welker’s gone!
Mike Giardi tweets:
(2/2) that said on Welker, as noted by @tomecurran, that 1 team, that 1 offer, hasn't happened. Big $$ deals usually happen early in FA— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 13, 2013
And he’s definitely staying!
In an unprecedented and impromptu Twitter Q&A on his girlfriend’s account, Bill Belichick is asked whether he’d rather have Jerry Rice in his prime or Deion Sanders in his prime, and answers:
And you’re like: “Oh man. So is that his way of saying he values cornerback over wide receivers? So does that mean he’s going to let Welker walk and use that money to revamp the secondary? Are the Pats about to sign Leon Sandcastle?!”
It’s a trip. In 2013, it’s just life. I mean, I was about to try and end this post on a positive note when I saw this tweet from Albert Breer:
Word around the league is the Patriots' offer to Welker came in substantially lower than expected, and he's seriously considering bolting NE— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 13, 2013
Really? “Seriously considering”? What’s going on here? Is it just posturing from the Welker camp? Is it a real sign that his days in New England are numbered? Is it . . .
We don’t know. We won’t know.
All we can do is sit back and wait for that black smoke to clear, and allow the truth to reveal itself.