Should New England Patriots Worry About Welker and Belichick's Relationship?

Ben StepanskyCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2012

Welker has his best game of the season on Sunday
Welker has his best game of the season on SundayJim Rogash/Getty Images

The sky has cleared, the ship has been straightened and the New England Patriots have weathered the storm. 

After a mystifying 1-2 start, the Patriots are above .500 again and everything feels right.

Or so we think.

Wes Welker is certainly a happy camper, hauling in 13 catches for 104 yards and his first touchdown of the season in the Patriots 31-21 victory over the Denver Broncos.

After a surprisingly unproductive Week 1 in which he caught three passes for 14 yards, Welker has returned to the top of the receiving charts. He sits second in the NFL in receptions with 38 (Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons has 39) and is sixth in reception yards with 484.

During a postgame interview with Comcast SportsNet New England, Welker was asked how it felt to grab 13 receptions in a game compared to the three he caught in Week 1.

In his response, Welker took a humorous shot at coach Bill Belichick:

"Yeah it's kind of nice to stick it in Bill's face every once in a while. So this is definitely a good one."

Welker has been known to have some fun with the media. At last season's Super Bowl press conference, Welker laid down his theory of why Belichick was a cheerier presence in Indianapolis. He stated it was perhaps due to a "lady in his life."

And who can forget Welker's coy and creative foot references in response to New York Jets coach Rex Ryan's trash talk. 

While the comments Welker made after Sunday's win were quickly followed with a wink and a warm-hearted chuckle, they could be rooted in a relationship quarrel deeper than fans are willing to acknowledge.

Obviously, Belichick and the front office are pleased with Welker's production since his lackluster Week 1 performance.

But after being slapped with the franchise tag in the offseason, Welker and the Patriots could not reach an agreement on a long term contract before the start of the 2012-2013 campaign.

There was speculation that Welker could be upset after witnessing the hefty contracts signed by tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, ensuring them multi-year security.

Welker is 31-years-old but has shown no signs of slowing down his elite level of production. And so Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have seamlessly worked him back into his deserved starting role. 

The Patriots would be smart to get that contract extension signed and reinforce those faltering relationships before its too late.