Pats lose Welker, signs with Broncos

After being on the other end of a countless number of passes from Tom Brady over the past six seasons, Wes Welker will now be catching them from Peyton Manning.

The prolific slot receiver bolted one AFC power for another after reaching an agreement with the Denver Broncos on a two-year contract on Wednesday.

Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway announced the move on Twitter, though financial details were not readily available.

"Agreed to terms on a 2-yr deal with Wes Welker," Elway tweeted. "Excited to have Wes join the Broncos. His production & toughness will be a great asset!"

Welker joins the defending AFC West champion Broncos after failing to come to an agreement with the Patriots, where the 31-year-old developed into one of the league's most productive players and was a major contributor to a New England team that went to two Super Bowls and reached the playoffs five times during his six-year tenure.

The shifty wideout had at least 111 catches and 1,165 yards in five of those seasons and topped the NFL in receptions three times during that stretch.

Welker became New England's all-time leader in receptions last year and amassed 672 grabs totaling 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns in just 93 regular- season contests with the Pats. His 672 catches over the past six seasons are the most in the NFL during that time frame.

Despite those achievements, the Patriots were reluctant to give Welker a long- term contract due to his age and the team's salary cap structure. New England used its franchise-tag designation on the five-time Pro Bowl selection to keep him on the 2012 roster, but would have had to guarantee him $11.4 million if it went that route again this season.

Welker finished his final season in New England with 118 catches for 1,354 yards and six touchdowns.