On Monday, the New England Patriots rewarded tight end Aaron Hernandez with a hefty five-year extension that will keep him around through the 2018 season–which is also convenient considering they signed Rob Gronkowski to a six-year extension in June. The Patriots are playing it smart by making sure there dynamic duo at tight end will around for years to come, but has to have one member of the team frustrated–wide receiver Wes Welker.
Over the last four years, Welker has emerged as one of the league’s top players and the argument can be made he’s the best slot receiver in the game–causing all sorts of problems for opposing defenders. At 31, Welker has spent most of the offseason fighting for a long-term deal from the organization, but they’ve refused to give in and will make their star wideout play the 2012 season under the $9.5 million franchise tender.
Welker is coming off his best NFL season in 2011 after catching 122 passes for 1,569 yards to go along with nine touchdowns and has recorded at least 111 receptions in three of his last four seasons. He may indicate he’s happy for his teammates and the new deals they received during the offseason, but it’s clear there’s some small part of Welker that is feeling even more frustrated over his contract situation.
For now, all Welker can do is what he does best–which is football. If anything, New England may benefit even more from this situation considering Welker will be even more motivated to display monster numbers on the field and hope it lands him a hefty deal during the 2012 offseason.
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