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The Wes Welker Signing In St. Louis Is Not A Good Thing

(Photo courtesy of Jack Dempsey/ Associated Press)

(Photo courtesy of Jack Dempsey/ Associated Press)

Wes Welker has been to a few Super Bowls and has been a pain in the collective sides of defenses for the majority of his career. But after he wasn’t brought back by the Denver Broncos after last season, he has had a hard time finding work. The veteran wide receiver has been keeping himself in shape, patiently waiting on the call from one team wanting to employ him. The Giants worked him out, but there was no contract given. And Welker was starting to get impatient. He wanted to play and needed someone to give him a chance. Well, the wait is finally over for Welker as he was recently signed by the St. Louis Rams. Thanks to the suspension of wide receiver Stedman Bailey, the Rams had an opening and decided to give the veteran wide receiver a chance. All indications are that he will be in uniform this weekend versus the Chicago Bears. Welker finally got his wish for someone to give him a chance and it will be interesting to see what he can do for them this year or if they keep him past Stedman’s four-game suspension. There could potentially be some positive things happen from this move, but this move is one that is scary for him and not productive for the Rams.

Having a veteran wide receiver is a great thing. The way he can help a team is the same way Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley. He just gets a feel for his quarterback and finds a way to get open for him. Welker has made himself into a quarterback’s best friend with the ability to get open and he may just do so in St. Louis. But there has to be a question as to how he will be used in St. Louis. Welker has been a very good slot receiver his entire career. He has made great plays for Peyton Manning in Denver and Tom Brady in New England. But in St. Louis, they already have a slot guy that they use in a multitude of ways. Tavon Austin is enjoying his best year as a pro wide receiver. He is on pace for the most touchdowns and receiving yards in his career and the Rams are using him any and everywhere on the field. The Rams did not bring in Welker to be a body on the sideline, so he could potentially cut into some of the playing time that Austin gets should they line him up in the slot like he is accustomed to. The Rams are struggling to score points, but Austin is not the issue and if they plan on eating into his touches, then they will suffer offensively. Another thought is they may try to line Welker outside and if they do that, it will be a short stay for Welker in St. Louis. He is not an outside receiver and that is not how he made his living in the NFL at all.

But away from where and how they will use him, there are some physical concerns that are frightening when you think about them. Welker has had concussion issues over the last three seasons. They got so bad that they gave him a helmet that made him look like Rick Moranis’ character in Space Balls. The premise behind that helmet was to try and protect him from another head injury. The NFL just does not pass out those type of helmets unless there is serious concern over more head trauma. And even though he has not been active this year, that issue still is around. Each time he takes a hit, he is putting himself at risk of being concussed again. And there is always that possibility that his next one could put him in a place he does not want to be: a nursing home. Welker may love to play the game, but you want to be able to walk away when your time is over. Welker may want to think about that instead of trying to quench his thirst he still has for playing the game. His hunger for playing may still be there, but he has to be cognizant of the position he is putting his wife in. And that one is a position of nervousness for her probably, not knowing if that next hit will alter their lives forever.

The love of the game is something that can be unending, especially for players. And at times, it can be so addictive to some that it causes them to not know when to call it a career. It’s been time for Welker to call it a career, but he just will not give it up. He could potentially help the Rams, but there could be more harm done to him in the process. And along with the potential harm for himself, he could disrupt the rhythm of the team. Welker had a talented career up to this point, but his time has passed. And the fit for him on this team is like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole.

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