Patriots

Tracy’s Take: Athletes Ultimately Responsible For Living Up To Contracts, Fair Or Unfair

By Tracy Clements, 98.5 The Sports Hub
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David Ortiz and Wes Welker (Photos by Rich Schultz/Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

David Ortiz and Wes Welker (Photos by Rich Schultz/Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — These days, everyone’s an expert when it comes to knowledge about Boston sports.

I’ll start with Wes Welker.

There have been so many conflicting reports about what his plans are for next season. The Twittersphere and airwaves have been abuzz with:

Adam Schefter reporting he’ll become a free agent.

ProFootballTalk.com reporting the Pats remain the favorite to retain Welker. That said, one or two teams could intervene.

According to local insider Mike Giardi of CSNNE.com, Welker was closing in on a new contract.

Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole wrote that a source close to Welker said the receiver has mild disdain for the Patriot.

Is the writing on the wall, though? Maybe. Here’s how I see it. Tom Brady just signed a new not-so-mega-deal, making him a Patriot for what’s left of his career. I have to believe part of the reason he took less money was to keep some of his weapons like Welker around, but at the same time he realizes there’s a good chance Welker walks. So, “in Bill he trusts” to hopefully bring in one of the many free agents testing the waters like Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings.

I’d love to see Wallace come here. It was disappointing how he started off last preseason holding out for a bigger contract that never came to fruition and then not performing as well as he did the prior two years. I mean if you’re going to throw a fit, come back and prove you were worth the wait. To me, he wasn’t worth the wait. But, maybe things would be different here. The Steelers dynasty is aging and probably not in contention for any championships in the near future.

As for a player like Jennings, I doubt he’ll land here. He’ll cost too much. Besides, the Patriots passed on him in the 2006 draft, trading up for Chad Jackson who was last seen playing for the Omaha Nighthawks. Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

As for Welker, why not get a feel for how much warmer … or colder the free-agent waters are? He’ll soon find out what he is (or isn’t) worth to 31 other teams. I’d like to see him back here for one more year. Sure, he’s dropped some key passes, but he’s not the only one. Unfortunately for him, his are the only ones we seem to bring up. And compared to other professional players in Boston, he’s never once publicly aired his grievances with the team, never once talked about any grudges he may or may not hold, nor has he discussed his personal frustrations. This day and age, that’s hard to do. He won’t get the contract he’s looking for and will give up a little extra money for a chance to win another championship.

Speaking of contracts, I’ll tell you who wasn’t worth his — David Ortiz. His new two-year (worth between $26 million and $30 million) was risky if you ask me. The 37-year-old’s base salary for 2013 is $14 million, and it’s $11 million for 2014, which could swell to $15 million if he doesn’t miss time this season due to his Achilles injury. You don’t have to be an expert to know that wasn’t a safe bet for the Red Sox brass to take. Did the medical experts misdiagnose his timetable to return? Maybe. Seems to me this type of injury should have healed by now. Despite the fact he’s been running bases and taking batting practice, reports out of Fort Myers indicate his recovery has been, well, slow.

Anyone surprised?

He’s reassured us he’s making progress, he feels good and that everything is OK. I have a hunch Ortiz isn’t going to live up to his contract no matter how many days he spends on or off the DL. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not he’ll be ready to go April 1 — that’s something only he can decide.

At this point, among all the rumors and speculation, the only experts are the players themselves. I just hope once the dust settles, they show up, play hard, and actually earn those lucrative contracts they all hold out for.

Tracy Clements is a weekend producer on 98.5 The Sports Hub. You can follow her on twitter at @clementine_12.

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