Coming off a season in which he caught 122 passes for 1,569 yards and 9 touchdowns, Pro Bowl wide receiver Wes Welker expected to be rewarded for his efforts with a new long term deal with the New England Patriots.
Instead, he was slapped with the franchise tag.
With the deadline for a long term deals on franchised players set for Monday, July 16th, time is of the essence for both sides. As it stands now, there remains a wide gap between the team and their star wide receiver. The Boston Globe’s Greg A. Bedard explains.
Basically, the Patriots want Welker to take a bit of a discount to stay with Tom Brady. Welker, meanwhile, wants a deal that guarantees him just below the $21 million he would get paid playing two years under the franchise tag.
You’re talking about a distance in the range of around $6 million in guaranteed money.
That’s not to say the sides can’t agree. The Patriots could very well give in a little bit at the end.
Essentially what they will be asking themselves is this: What kind of year do we think Welker will have?
Going into his sixth season with the Patriots, Welker has amasses a total of 554 receptions, 6,105 yards and 32 touchdowns. Welker has shown no signs of slowing down even though he’s on the wrong side of 30. The Patriots would be smart to meet his asking press. They will be hard pressed to find someone else who could match his contributions on a weekly basis.