Patriots WR Wes Welker was on the field for 43 of the Patriots 67 offensive plays yesterday. That’s a significant decline since last season, when Welker played 89.2 percent of the teams offensive snaps, per Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com.
“After playing in 89.2 percent of the team’s total offensive snaps in 2011, he split time with Julian Edelman,” writes Reiss. “Welker had a quiet game (3 catches for 14 yards) and this type of plan — and his playing time — makes one wonder if it’s the potential beginning of a less Welker-centric attack.”
It’s only one game, but it’s quite possible that the Patriots are tuning their to showcase tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, as neither missed a snap on Sunday. After last season’s performance, Welker’s three catches definitely raised some question marks.
Welker is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them begin the transition of replacing him now. The most concerning factor for Welker, is the fact that he split time with Edelman on Sunday.
We have Welker listed as the No. 9 best available player in our Top 50 Free Agents list, but that could be changing in the near future.