Wes Welker has spent his off-season clamoring for a long term contract. The Patriots responded to his requests by bringing in a group of free agent Wide Receivers including underrated veteran Brandon Lloyd.

Not exactly what you want to see if you’re in Welker’s position. Last month he told the NFL Network he was in no rush to sign his $9.515 million franchise tender.

Yesterday on Boston radio station WEEI, Welker appeared to backtrack on his earlier comments – stating there were 9.5 million reasons why he wouldn’t miss any regular-season games.

Which leads us to today’s unsurprising news:

Few Wide Receivers have matched Welker’s level of production during the last five years. Based on previous contract negotiations it seems the Patriots believe anyone on the team is replaceable outside of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick – their continued success shows us they aren’t wrong. Now that Welker has signed the tender New England has no impetus to get a new deal done.

Welker’s leap of faith – this isn’t the first, he rushed back from ACL surgery in 2010 – may end up costing the Wide Reciever in the long run.

Comments (3)

  1. Welker had three options: take whatever long term deal the Patriot’s were offering, take the $9.5 million for one season, or hold out and get paid nothing. Despite the fact the Welker signed the tender, the long term offer is still on the table and he can take it at any time. So his options are unchanged: he can still take the long term offer, take the $9.5 million for one season, or refuse to play when the season actually starts and get paid nothing. So he lost nothing by signing the tender. But he did gain something: he gained the right to participate in the Patriot’s preseason camp next week. That’s why he signed the tender.

    • Do you think the term/money the Pats offered is something Welker would consider signing if he chose to sign the tender instead?

      • No, but I never thought they would do a long term deal anyway. With the franchise tag, the Patriots have all the leverage. They can pay Welker $9.5 million this year. Next year they can franchise him again for $11.4 million. That’s two years for about $21 million, but the Patriots only have to guarantee one year at a time. If Welker wants two years guaranteed, he would probably have to take less than $18 million. And I doubt the Patriots were willing to go more than $18 million guaranteed, no matter how long the contract was.

        There is I think an interesting dynamic to this situation. On paper, Welker is worth more to the Patriots than any other team. This is in part because of how well is fits into NE’s system and his rapport with Brady. In other words, while I could be wrong, I don’t think Welker could go out onto the open market and get more than what the Patriots are offering. But his contributions to the Patriots certainly indicate he should be paid as much as the top receivers in the league. In a situation like that, it is usually the party that blinks first who loses leverage. But in this situation, I don’t think Welker had any leverage. He’s worth nothing to the Patriots if he blows the lid off their cap number and prevents them from retaining the other players they need to put together a championship caliber team. And the Patriots have made it clear that everyone is expendable if that’s what it takes to maintain their salary structure. So this is playing out exactly how I expected, with Welker taking the franchise tender. If Welker has another blow out year, I expect the Patriots will franchise him again.

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