Some of the biggest NFL rumors this offseason have been about New England Patriots Pro Bowl wide receiver Wes Welker and whether he would get a contract extension before Monday’s deadline. Welker was given the franchise tag by the team with the explanation that they just needed more time to get a deal done. However, when Welker signed the franchise tender, he revealed that negotiations were not going well.
The deadline for players who have been given the franchise tag to sign a long-term extension is Monday at 4:00 pm. If a deal is not done by then the player must play out the 2012 season on a one year contract and could go into free agency following the season.
For Welker and the Patriots, things still don’t look positive. Though both sides say they want to get a deal done, it looks more and more like they might be negotiating down to the 4 o’clock deadline. In order for the two sides to come to an agreement, one or both would have to lower their demands but the chatter is that both sides are too far apart to go low enough to make a deal.
Welker will make $9.5 million in 2012 under his current tag but the Patriots have an advantage because they could tag him again next year. Under that tag he would make a minimum of $11.4 million. A big question will be are the Patriots willing to lose Welker. Since joining the team in 2007, Welker has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last four years. In 2011, the Patriots played their first full season without Pro Bowler Randy Moss since 2007 and with the inability of Chad Ochocinco to contribute, Welker stepped up.
The Patriots have improved with additions such as Brandon Lloyd but Welker is still a large part of the Patriots game plan because of all the different things they can do with him on offense. On Welker’s part, he probably doesn’t want to leave. He is currently on a team that are the defending AFC champions and have a good chance of returning to the Super Bowl in 2012. If a deal is to be agreed to, the two sides only have until Monday at 4:00 pm or they will go through this all over again next offseason.