Despite reports indicating that Wes Welker and the New England Patriots were close to reaching an agreement on a contract extension, the 31-year-old wide receiver made it clear today that he plans to test the open market on March 12th.
With Tom Brady taking a modest contract extension to expand cap space for the Patriots, the general belief was that Wes Welker would return to New England now that the team had the ample money to re-sign him. However, sources have suggested that Welker has a “mild disdain” to how he was treated last year in contract talks. The Patriots elected to use the franchise tag on him last season, paying him $9.5 million for the 2012 season.
The Patriots had no intentions of slapping the franchise tag on Welker this season because it would have cost the team $11.4 million for the upcoming 2013 season.
Welker’s decision to test the free agency market likely the means the Patriots have yet to meet the contractual demands of the wide receiver. Welker will begin talking to other NFL teams March 9th but cannot sign a contract with a new team until the 12th.
It is obvious that Wes Welker is frustrated with the Patriots’ management and their inability to pay up to his contract desires. He is still angry with how contract negotiations ended a season ago and therefore he believes he deserves to test the open market.
There will be a great demand for the talented Wes Welker in free agency. For the Patriots sake, it would be a shame to see Welker depart without ever winning a Super Bowl with the team. Since joining the Patriots in 2007, Welker and his club have fallen just short of their championship aspirations, including losing the Super Bowl in the 2007 and 2011 season. Wes Welker leaving New England ring-less would be tough to swallow for Patriots fans, but sometimes money speaks louder than pride for athletes.