Brady goes to bat for Wes Welker

INDIANAPOLIS -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is not a talent evaluator or general manager. But Brady is the most important player on the roster.

That is why the comments of the three-time Super Bowl winner carries weight. On Wednesday Brady went to bat for one of his favorite targets -- receiver Wes Welker -- who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Is Brady playing his last game with Welker in Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants?

"I would never want to think about that," Brady said. "Wes is one of my great friends, and I hope he's back. He certainly deserves it. He's done a great job since he's got here. He led the league in catches and yards, and he's really been an underdog. He continues to show his character. He seems to get better and certainly has a better understanding of our offense. He's a great player on this team."

Is New England's front office listening? Welker is, by far, the biggest free agent the Patriots have this offseason.

Using our SportsNation poll, vote on whether Welker returns to New England next season.