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

How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

Ever since Derek Carr signed a five-year, $125 million extension with the Raiders to give him the highest average annual contract value in league history, some version of the same question has been posed over and over again. 

What does this mean for other quarterbacks looking for new deals? 

Despite the fact that Carr's average annual value surpasses the previous high set by Andrew Luck ($24.6 million), and despite the fact that Carr's contract provides him the security that alluded him while he was on his rookie contract, his recent haul may not mean much for the likes of Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins and other top-end quarterbacks.

They were already expecting monster paydays down the road that would hit (or eclipse) the $25 million range, and Carr's record-setting contract may not even serve as a suitable baseline for them, as ESPN's Dan Graziano lays out.

So if Carr's contract did little more for upper-echelon quarterbacks than confirm for them where the market was already headed, then does it mean anything for someone like Jimmy Garoppolo? 

Carr and Garoppolo were both second-round picks in 2014, but from that point, they've obviously taken very different roads as pros. Carr started 47 consecutive games in his first three years and by last season he had established himself as one of the most valuable players in the league. Garoppolo, by comparison, has started two games. 

Both players still hold loads of promise, but unless Garoppolo sees substantial playing time in 2017 and then hits the open market, he won't approach Carr's deal when his rookie contract is up.  

ESPN's Mike Reiss projected that a fair deal for Garoppolo on the open market might fall between the $19 million that was guaranteed to Chicago's Mike Glennon and Carr's contract, which includes $40 million fully guaranteed and $70 million in total guarantees, per NFL Media.

Perhaps something in the range of what Brock Osweiler received from the Texans after Osweiler started seven games for the Broncos in 2015 would be considered fair: four years, with $37 million guaranteed. Because Osweiler (before his deal or since) never seemed as polished as Garoppolo was in his two games as a starter in 2016, and because the salary cap continues to soar, the argument could be made that Garoppolo deserves something even richer. 

Though Garoppolo is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency following the 2017 season, there is a chance he doesn't get there quite that quickly. The Patriots could try to come to some kind of agreement with their backup quarterback on an extension that would keep him in New England, or they could place the franchise tag on him following the season. 

Either way, Garoppolo will get paid. But until he sees more time on the field, a deal that would pay him in the same range as his draft classmate will probably be out of reach.

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.