March 14, 2013

Wes Welker leaves Patriots, joins Denver

Pat Graham / The Associated Press

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Wes Welker, Quintin Demps
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Wes Welker is saying goodbye to Tom Brady and hello to Peyton Manning.

AP

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One that's only bolstered by the presence of Welker.

"The Welker deal is a big deal. He's a great player and just another weapon on an already scary offense," Bradley said. "He's definitely a dangerous player because you think he's covered and you throw the ball to him, he's going to catch it. He's so versatile in the slot. He's a durable guy. He has been as productive of a guy as there is in the NFL in the past five or six years.

"I think he'll be a great addition to the team."

Knighton couldn't agree more.

"Wes Welker, (Eric) Decker, Peyton Manning, (Demaryius) Thomas — that will be hard to deal with for any defense in the league," Knighton said. "There are a few teams in the league that you could say actually have a chance of playing in the Super Bowl and this is definitely one of those places."

Knighton was a third-round pick of Jacksonville in 2009, when Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was there. His signing, along with Tuesday's resigning of Kevin Vickerson, gives the Broncos 600-plus pounds of defensive linemen to plug holes in the middle.

"Jack used the word 'stout.' He needs stout," Vickerson said. "He wants us to be stout. Stout in the inside. No movement."

Knighton, whose nickname is "Pot Roast," can definitely help in that area.

Just to be clear, though, he signed at the same time as Welker.

"I'm pretty sure his news is bigger than mine," Knighton said, laughing. "I'm just excited about the addition and just ready to get things started."

The loss of Welker caught some in the Boston area a little bit by surprise.

"Say it ain't so, Wes!" Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before their game against Toronto. "He was fun to watch."

To open free agency on Tuesday, the Broncos solidified the offensive line by bringing in guard Louis Vasquez on a four-year contract worth $23.4 million, with $13 million of that guaranteed.

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