Dolphins hosting receiver Wes Welker on free-agent visit

ByJames Walker via ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Miami Dolphins are hosting free-agent receiver Wes Welker for a visit on Wednesday, according to a team source.

Welker began his career with the Dolphins in 2004. However, Miami traded Welker to the AFC East rival New England Patriots in 2007. It was one of the worst mistakes the Dolphins have made in the past decade.

Welker haunted the Dolphins over and over, as he helped the Patriots extend their dominance in the AFC East and had big games against his former team.

The five-time Pro Bowl selection had five seasons with at least 100 receptions in his time with the New England Patriots and had a single-season career best with 10 touchdowns with the Denver Broncos in 2013.

It's interesting that Miami would express interest in Welker, who will turn 34 in May, at this stage of his career. He is clearly slowing down as a player.

Welker recorded 49 receptions for just 464 yards and two touchdowns last season with the Denver Broncos. However, the Dolphins have a very young group of receivers and could use a veteran presence after trading Mike Wallace to the Minnesota Vikings.

The team also hosted veteran free-agent receivers Greg Jennings on Tuesday and Michael Crabtree two weeks ago.

After finishing out a two-year, $12 million deal with the Broncos last season, Welker hasn't garnered much interest from Denver.

After a year that included a concussion he suffered in the preseason -- what had been his third concussion in roughly a nine-month span after two during the 2013 season -- to go with a suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, Welker's role in the Broncos' offense diminished this past season.

Welker's 49 receptions in 2014 were his fewest since he had 29 catches in 2005. Defenses that once considered him a player they had to think about using double coverage to keep him away from the ball no longer felt that way. Even against largely single coverage, Welker was targeted just eight times combined in the final three games of the regular season, as he did not find and/or create much room to work, and he was targeted just twice in the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

During training camp, Welker was originally suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs and missed the Broncos' first two games of the regular season, wins over the Colts and Kansas City Chiefs. And when the league and the NFL Players Association agreed to a new drug policy early in the season, Welker was one of the players who benefited, with his four-game suspension cut to two games. Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.

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