Asante Samuel to Wes Welker: 'Chase the money'

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Asante Samuel says that Wes Welker should "chase the money," and not settle for anything less to remain with the Patriots in 2013.

When Asante Samuel left the New England Patriots for a big contract with the Philadelphia Eagles five years ago, his former teammate, wide receiver Wes Welker, suggested that Samuel was choosing "money over championships."

Now, Welker is set to hit free agency on March 12 and Samuel has a little advice for the eight-year veteran from an interview with FOX Sports Radio.

"He made a comment when I left saying I chased the money and not the championship," Samuel said. "Here's my advice to you, Welker: You better chase the money, brother."

Clearly, Samuel feels he made the right decision, and the whole situation goes a little deeper than that, too. Samuel was given the franchise tag the year before he left New England and he was very unhappy for it. After the tag, the Patriots didn't offer Samuel the numbers he was looking for, so he left.

Welker was also franchised last season, and he signed his tender after calling it a "leap of faith." Welker said that he hoped the franchise tag would be the first step toward a long-term contract with the Patriots.

Unfortunately, the two sides quickly saw the contract talks break down. Now, it's unlikely that Welker will get the franchise tag for the second consecutive season, though it is possible that he works out a long-term deal with the Patriots before free agency hits.

Then again, he might not. As noted by SB Nation's Pats Pulpit, Welker will only be brought back on New England's terms, and they're not interested in overpaying.

Welker is getting up there in years, but he still had a fantastic season in 2012. He caught 118 passes, the fifth time in his career that he's had more than 100 receptions and the sixth time he's had at least 85. On top of that, he had six touchdowns and 1,354 yards, the second-highest total of his career.

In 2011, he posted his highest total for yards, with 1,569 and touchdowns, with nine. At 31 years old, maybe he starts to decline, but until the numbers show such a decline, he remains one of the top receivers in the game.

One of Welker's biggest issues is that he picks the absolute worst times to drop the football. Against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship, Welker let a ball go through his hands that would have extended the Patriots' chances to make a comeback and possibly a trip to the Super Bowl, which the Ravens went on to win.

Still, if he hits the open market, he likely won't earn the kind of contract that Samuel earned given the age disparity, but Welker certainly wouldn't be playing for anything close to the veteran's minimum come next year, either.

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