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In the early stages of a contract negotiation, there are often vast distances between the lines drawn. That usually leads to one side mouthing obscenities and possibly even insulting a mother or two (if you have two mothers, I suppose that’s an entirely different problem), and then there’s a departure.

But sometimes — rare times — logic prevails, and unique circumstances lead to both the team and player determining that there’s a mutual need, and a shared connection. They need each other, man.

This love connection state is where the talks between Wes Welker and the Patriots are, and it’s what should ultimately lead to an agreement in the very near future. As in before next Tuesday, preferably.

Welker wasn’t given the franchise tag yesterday, which was so very unsurprising since a tag for the second straight year would have cost the Patriots $11.4 million. Just think of all the things you can buy for that kind of cash, things that aren’t a soon-to-be 32-year old wide receiver. That’s a lot of Play Doh.

But the aforementioned mutual realization is centering around Welker’s knowledge that his usage likely won’t be duplicated in any other offense, and in turn the Patriots’ knowledge that his slot skills are an ideal fit for their spread schemes, especially with Tom Brady now under a long-term contract. That’s why this is happening, according to Mike Giardi of CSN New England:

Wes Welker and the Patriots are closing in on a multi-year contract that would allow Welker to finish his career in New England. An NFL source says that the two sides are hoping to have something finalized before the onset of free agency on March 12.

According to the source, the two sides have come to the understanding that they are far better with one another than without.

Unlike last year when Welker took what he called a “leap of faith” by accepting the team’s franchise tender in the hopes that a long term deal would be worked out, this time the two sides are — according to the source – far more willing to compromise than at the same point last year.

This is the rosiest fantasy news we’re heard in this early days of March hearsay and speculation.

Of all the pending wide receiver free agents who are set to be released from their shackles on March 12, Welker playing anywhere but New England is the scariest potential move. He’s such a widely used target in the New England offense that he’s a consistent point-per-reception league monster, even with Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandon Lloyd drawing attention and footballs in their direction (his targets will also increase if Lloyd is cut, a strong possibility). Welker was targeted 174 times this past season — the fourth most targets in the league — and over the last three years he’s averaged 156 targets, which has translated into 326 catches and 3,471 receiving yards.

Overall during his time in New England Welker is averaging 1,243.2 receiving yards per season. Even if we don’t include his 37 total touchdowns as a Patriot, that yardage alone leads to 124.3 fantasy points per year. That’s money, and fake dough which won’t be easily located elsewhere. There’s also mild concern about Brady’s production if he were to lose his most frequent target, especially following two straight seasons with Gronk suffering a serious injury.

In summary, this likely deal is good for everyone. The Patriots, Welker, and all of us.

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