Free agent receiver Wes Welker has dealt with injuries and significant decline in play over the last few years, but the five-time Pro Bowler is still drawing interest from NFL teams. The Miami Dolphins reportedly set up a visit with Welker for Wednesday, according to the Miami Herald, as the team seeks to surround young quarterback Ryan Tannehill with better targets for 2015.
Welker, 33, spent the last two seasons with the Denver Broncos and denied reports that he was considering retirement after totaling 49 receptions for 464 yards and two touchdowns last season, his lowest totals in the last nine seasons.
Welker actually spent two seasons with the Dolphins, 2005 and 2006, but was traded to the New England Patriots and became one of the most dominant slots receivers in NFL history.
Welker’s visit comes on the heels of former Minnesota Viking Greg Jennings’ sit down with Miami on Tuesday. The club also met with Michael Crabtree, according to The Herald.
Wide receiver appears to be a major priority for the Dolphins. Miami traded receiver Mike Wallace to Minnesota last month, and watched veteran Brian Hartline sign with the Cleveland Browns and tight end Charles Clay head to the division-rival Buffalo Bills. Now the only legitimate receiving threat on the Dolphins’ roster is Jarvis Landry, who’s entering his second year in the league after totaling 84 receptions for 758 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie.
According to Spotrac.com, Miami has roughly $15.4 million of salary cap space to sign players, and with Welker’s age and recent injury history he’s unlikely to eat up too much of it.
The Dolphins made the biggest splash of any team in free agency last month when they signed defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh away from the Detroit Lions for $114.4 million over six years. But they have yet to address wide receiver despite Tannehill making huge strides with 4,045 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, and a 66.4-completion percentage, all career highs.
Given his extensive familiarity with the division, Welker could help Miami snap its two-year run of 8-8 finishes and make the postseason for the first time since 2008. He rarely drops passes, and effectively runs his patterns.
Back in 2013, Welker spurned a reportedly low offer to re-sign with the New England Patriots and moved on to Denver on a two-year, $12 million deal that expired after last season.
During his first run with the Broncos, Welker sustained two concussions in a three-week span and since then his play on the field as diminished significantly. During his peak years from 2007 to 2012, Welker missed only two games while averaging 112 receptions, more than 1,200 yards and six touchdowns a season, helping New England reach two Super Bowls.