Reflecting on a Record: Welker hits 100 receptions for fifth time

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Reflecting on a Record: Welker hits 100 receptions for fifth time

Slightly lost in last Sundays failed comeback and the "Should the Pats tank the last two games?" debate that's followed was a pretty ridiculous record set by New England's Mustachioed Marauder, AKA Wesley Carter Welker.

In case you missed, although you probably didnt, with his 12-yard reception in the fourth quarter of Sundays game, Welker became the first player in NFL history to register five 100 reception seasons.

Lets take a second and breath that in:

FIRST. RECEIVER. EVER.

He now has one more 100-catch seasons than Jerry Rice. One more than Marvin Harrison. Two more than Herman Moore. Three more than Cris Carter. Four more than Larry Centers and FIVE MORE THAN TONY SIMMONS.

Thats absolutely unbelievable.

Seriously, take just one more second and breath it in. Inhale it like you're Snoop Lion (nee: Dogg) right before a big show:

FIRST. RECEIVER. EVER.

Of course, Welker's achievement is at least somewhat a product of the changing face of the NFL game. As offenses continue to evolve and passing records continue to fall (of the top 15 single-season passing totals, 11 have occurred since 2000), it's only natural for the receivers to start reaping some record-breaking benefits. So while Welker might be the first guy in more than 90 years of NFL football with five 100-catch seasons, it shouldn't be long before he has some company.

For instance, Brandon Marshalls only 28 years old and has four 100 catch seasons (including this one). Andre Johnson needs only seven catches over his last two games for his fourth 100 catch season. Reggie Wayne only needs three more catch for his fourth.

Then again, it's hard to imagine that Welker's done either. Before he hangs them up, he could have six or seven or who knows? Even nine 100 catch seasons under his belt.

The only question is which uniform he'll have tucked into that belt, and honestly, at this point, there's no use in really speculating. Obviously, if you ask any New England fan, or probably, any player in that Pats locker room, you'll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't want No. 83 back for another few years. We all know what he brings to this team. We all know how much he deserves a deal. BUT we also know that once Bill Belichick makes up his mind about something especially when that "something" pertains a player's value there's usually no convincing him otherwise.

Anyway, like I said, we've got another few weeks hopefully another six before that issue comes back into play. For now, we'll just take another second and breathe in the wonders of Welker, and hope that it won't be long before he's got a shiny ring to go along with that ridiculous 'stache.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

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Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

NFL Siberia can’t be all that bad. The Cleveland Browns have signed Jamie Collins to an extension that keeps him off the free agent market.

The former Patriot, stunningly shipped out of town on Halloween, has agreed to a reported four-year, $50 million deal with $26M in guaranteed money.

As eyebrow-raising as the move was at the time, this is an all’s well that ends well story.

Collins, a reluctant Patriot once it came clear the team wouldn’t to aim a confetti cannon of money at him, gets the desired big-dough deal. He didn’t drape himself in glory with his level of play this year in New England, but his agitation over making $900K this year was understandable.

The Patriots -- who made the deal not knowing exactly how it would work out with Collins’ fleet of replacements (primarily rookie Elandon Roberts and, October acquisition Kyle Van Noy) -- have played better defense since Collins has been gone and are headed to the Super Bowl.

Would they have been better if Collins stayed? The answer to that is a question: Which version of Collins, the irked one or the motivated one?

Collins did nothing to veil his desire for a huge contract, saying at the end of the season he’d stay with the hapless Browns if the money was right. Now that he’s decided the money was right, what kind of Collins will the Browns get? With $26M guaranteed, the Browns have tethered themselves to the 27-year-old Collins for a chunk of his prime. The shorter term is ideal for Collins because -- if he performs to his capability -- he’ll be able to see another lucrative deal before he’s too aged.

The deal will certainly be noticed by Collins’ former teammates, primarily Donta Hightower who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Patriots could franchise Hightower (last year’s tag number was more than $14M) but that’s not going to be ideal for either side. Hightower will want to get the windfall of guaranteed money that comes with a long-term deal and the Patriots may be reluctant to pay that much to a player that’s got an injury history and plays one of the game’s most violent positions.

A lot’s going to happen between now and the time the Patriots have to make their decision. A good deal of it will happen in the next 12 days. If Hightower stealthily saves the Super Bowl as he did in 2014 with his first-down tackle on Marshawn Lynch … how do you put a price on that?