updated - May 25, 2016 Wednesday EDT
Patriots star wide receiver Wes Welker will be signing with the Denver Broncos, months after New England fell at the AFC Championships to the eventual Super Bowl winners Baltimore Ravens last season. Welker had been criticized by Gisele Bundchen, wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, for his performance during Super Bowl XLVI in which they lost to the New York Giants.
At the time, Bundchen had said referring to Welker, "my husband cannot [expletive] throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time." She was defending her husband after the game from heckling fans, and was caught off-guard with the ill-advised remark. Welker did not respond, but his teammate Brandon Jacobs responded on his behalf that Bundchen should "continue to stay cute and shut up."
Bundchen is a supermodel and outspoken in her support of her husband through both wins and losses. Her husband Brady has won three Super Bowl championships with the Patriots, although not without controversy. His team was caught up in a scandal in 2007 ("Filmgate") involving filming signals from the opposing team, leaving an asterisk on an otherwise Hall-of-Fame-worthy career. Brady was not implicated in the scandal.
Brady is considered to be one of the best quarterbacks to have played in the National Football League. He recently restructured his own salary to create cap space for his team, deferring some salary in order to help the team pick up better players. In contrast, the Super Bowl XLVII MVP quarterback Joe Flacco recently inked a record $120.6 million contract.
It is not known whether criticism from Bundchen or others factored into Welker's decision to move to the Broncos. The chance to play with another legendary quarterback, Peyton Manning, was definitely a factor as well as the pay - $12 million according to ESPN. Tom Brady is reportedly upset that the Patriots let Welker go.
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