Five best fits for Wes Welker

What Welker brings to the table and where he could land in 2013

Originally Published: March 6, 2013
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Wes WelkerElsa/Getty ImagesCould Wes Welker really leave the New England Patriots this offseason?

The typical hot commodity in the wide receiver free-agent market is a speedy vertical threat such as Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings, two wideouts whose history of downfield success can put the fear of the long pass into a secondary.

It isn't often that a possession receiver generates that same level of market excitement, but that could change this year now that Wes Welker will test his value in free agency. Welker's potential impact to instantly turn around a team's passing game will make him one of the most sought-after targets of the 2013 offseason.

There's still a good chance Welker re-signs with New England, but if he got a better offer elsewhere, which teams could benefit the most from acquiring him? Here are five candidates who seemingly have the cap space and personnel need to pull off signing Welker, including one long shot team that would make a huge splash if it pulled off a free-agency upset.

Detroit Lions

To understand just how dominant Calvin Johnson is, consider that he posted superb yards per attempt (YPA) totals at the short (7.3), vertical (13.2) and stretch vertical (13.9) depth levels. (Note: short passes are thrown 10 or fewer yards downfield, vertical 11 or more yards and stretch vertical 20 or more yards)

The issue for the Lions is that even with Johnson's excellent productivity at the short pass level, Matthew Stafford still ended up ranking 17th among qualifying quarterbacks in short pass YPA.