Wes Welker is just as adept at slipping underneath the coverage off the field as he is on it. In a move that has gone unnoticed, Welker changed agents in March, leaving Vann McElroy for David Dunn of Athletes First, according to the NFL Players Association.
It's worth noting that Dunn is also the agent for former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel. Welker and Cassel are close friends, and Cassel attended Welker's football camp in Oklahoma last month.
The 28-year-old Welker is entering the third year of the five-year, $16.9 million contract he agreed to with the Patriots in 2007, when they struck a deal with the Miami Dolphins to acquire the restricted free agent wide receiver.
His base salary for this season is $1.65 million. A source with knowledge of Welker's thinking said the move was not designed at trying to push the Patriots for a new deal. That's good news for New England, which has a large upcoming free agent class following this season, including nose tackle Vince Wilfork.
However, if Welker were to push for a new deal, he would have a solid case.
Welker is the NFL's leader in receptions since 2007 with 223. In 2007, he tied for the NFL lead and set a club-record with 112 receptions. Those 112 receptions went for 1,175 yards and eight touchdowns.
Last year, Welker finished second in the NFL in receptions to Andre Johnson (115), with 111 catches. He also led the Patriots in receiving yards with 1,165 and added three touchdowns.
Welker set an NFL-record last season with six or more receptions in the first 11 games of the season.
Athletes First also represents Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather and offensive lineman Wesley Britt. Its biggest name wide receiver client is probably Indianapolis Colts wideout Reggie Wayne.
Wayne signed a six-year, $39.5 million extension in 2006. He restructured his deal this off-season to help the Colts save salary cap space, but will still have a $4.2 million base salary this season.
A call to Dunn was not immediately returned.