But what if he is? What will that do to the receiving corps?
Last month, I put together my first 53-man roster projection — With the added-in assumption that Welker starts the season on the PUP. And I came up with a six-man group of receivers that included Sam Aiken, Julian Edelman, Torry Holt (pictured, from Patriots.com), Randy Moss, Taylor Price and Brandon Tate.
So the question here is how much that changes if Welker is available. The roster is populated, at the position, with the six aforementioned, Welker, plus Bryan Anderson, Buddy Farnham, Darnell Jenkins, David Patten and Matthew Slater.
Welker’s availability would change the picture, drastically. So here’s the set of questions you’ll have to answer … Do you keep seven receivers? Are both Holt and Patten on the chopping block? Do you consider cutting Aiken, a special teams captain, and repair the situation with teams-capable DBs (Arrington, McCourty)?
This position, clearly, will be among the most competitive on the roster in camp. Assuming everyone’s healthy, you figure that Moss, Welker, Edelman and Price are roster locks. Tate’s probably close to being one, and that’s five spots. Plenty of teams carry just five receivers.
Again, it’s clear some tough decisions here will get even tougher if the good news that Welker’s available comes. You could have Patten, Holt, and Aiken each bringing different things to the table, but competing for the same roster spot.
Should be interesting to watch.