Wes Welker signs a contract with the St. Louis Rams, and it ends all the speculations about retirement.
According to NBC Sports, Welker and the Rams finalized the contract earlier today. The shifty wide receiver went through a tryout with the franchise earlier this morning. Welker impressed head coach Jeff Fisher enough to add him to the roster.
ESPN reported that Stedman Bailey was given a four game suspension by the NFL for violating the substance abuse policy. He was the third wide receiver for the Rams and was performing rather poorly at that. Bailey's second suspension in as many seasons created an opening on the roster.
Welker had to compete for that roster spot. The Rams also brought in Hakeem Nicks, who has struggled to catch on with an NFL team this season, and Vincent Brown for the tryouts. Welker was the most impressive of the three.
The former New England Patriots star has been out of the NFL since he finished off his contract with the Denver Broncos last season. Denver opted to not sign him to a contract extension because they were concerned with his history of concussions. Broncos officials reportedly wanted a more reliable wide receiver.
Through the years, Welker has proven to be one of the better slot receivers in the NFL. He has five seasons with more than 100 passes and more than 1,000 yards. Welker was a big reason why the Patriots got to the Super Bowl in 2007 and 2011, and he helped the Broncos get there in 2013.
That is how concerned NFL teams are about concussions. Teams avoided Welker, even though he was able to pass medical exams with two separate teams. Instead, lesser receivers were picked up because they were healthier than Welker.
If healthy, Welker should be quite the asset for starting quarterback Nicks Foles. His stint with the Rams has been much less productive than it was when he was starting for the high octane Philadelphia Eagles offense. Welker might not help Foles make it to the Pro Bowl, but he should be able to provide him with a security blanket, especially on third down.
St. Louis has a Super Bowl worthy defense. Their offense, however, ranks second to last in the NFL, right behind a San Francisco 49ers team that has been decimated by the departures of key personnel. Welker should be able to help them move up a little bit in the rankings.
Welker would be joining Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin, who have combined for 43 catches and 611 yards thus far this season, in the wide receiver rotation. Tight end Jared Cook has not been as productive as many had predicted he would be, but with Welker roaming around the lower middle of the field, Cook could find more room against the defense. If this quartet can help Foles put up points, then the Rams will be in the playoffs discussions.
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