Knowing that the NFL is a business above everything else doesn’t mean it’s easy to accept, even for someone like Tom Brady, who has been around the league for 13 years. The departure of Wes Welker, his favorite passing target for the last six seasons, the best of his career, didn’t really surprise him, but it’s hard to say he wasn’t disappointed.
While Brady was considered an elite quarterback after picking up his second Super Bowl ring, the explosion in his numbers, along with everyone else on the Patriots, since 2007, when the team became a lot more pass happy in its offense once Welker (among other players) arrived seemed to have elevated Brady towards another level. While most usually attribute it to Bill Belichick simply being himself, having a slot receiver like Welker on the field had a lot to do with his success and multiple MVP awards.
In short, he wasn’t very happy to hear about Welker being not getting a new contract, which meant he was free to sign with the Denver Broncos, and now has Peyton Manning throwing to him.
This is a, like I said, it’s a very tough, competitive business, and nobody appreciated Wes more than I did and what he was able to accomplish for our team. He’s moved on; he’s in a good situation with another great team and a great quarterback. We always kind of kept in touch, we always will. He’s one of my best friends.
Of course I have feelings, but those feelings are very personal to me. I used to get caught up in angry and disappointment, but I don’t make the decisions. These things aren’t up to me. At some point you’ve got to realize the things that are out of your control, you’ve just got to let go, focus on my job and what I need to do. The game moves on, the team moves on, there’s only so long you can dwell on the past, and at some point you’ve got to move forward.
Like I said, my job for my team is to be the best quarterback and not the general manager, not the coach and not the owner. It’s to try to go out there and bring my own competitiveness to the field so that those guys that I’m playing with this year can rely on me and count on me to be the best I can be.
Brady has seen a dip in his accuracy and passer rating over the last three seasons, but did lead the league in interceptions per passes ratio with only 1.3%. Welker caught 118 passes last season off of Brady, and finished each of seasons with the Patriots except for one with more than 111 receptions, including leading the NFL three times. While some say that this might expose Brady as he gets older, the All-Pro quarterback feels he hasn’t been throwing any better than he is at the moment.
I have never had more confidence in how I am throwing the football. I think we are going to field a competitive team. It’s hard, Wes was so productive for so long. I think it’s unfair to compare anyone to Wes and what he was able to accomplish in his time here. Danny is really, he’s just been fun to work with. I think he’s come in with an open mind and an understanding of the way that we as Patriots, the way we need to play.