New England Patriots Set to Use Franchise Tag on Wes Welker

Tony SantorsaSenior Writer IIFebruary 13, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 01:  Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots answers questions from the press during a media availability session for Super Bowl XLVI at the University Place Conference Center & Hotel on February 1, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The 2011 NFL leader in receptions with 122 appears to be staying put with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

A report released Monday afternoon indicates that the New England Patriots will use their franchise tag on wide receiver Wes Welker.

Welker is scheduled to become a free agent on March 13, but reportedly the Patriots will use their tag on him as they'll have until March 5 to make it official. 

If Welker were to sign elsewhere, New England's lasting memory of Welker would have been his infamous drop in Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants. With just about four minutes to go in the game with New England holding a 17-15 lead, Welker dropped a wide-open pass as if he were to catch it he would have landed inside of New York's 20-yard line and would have likely iced the game for the Patriots. 

Thankfully for Patriot fans, that does not appear to be the last memory of Welker. 

In all four seasons with Brady, Welker has 100-plus receptions and since 2007, he has led the NFL in receptions with an incredible total of 554. 

There's no doubt that Welker is Brady's go-to man and with the time ticking on Brady's career, it will be in New England's best interest to keep Welker on the roster as long as possible. 

It's unclear on how Welker will react to being tagged, but it could possibly be a short-term solution to buy sometime to come to terms on a long-term contract—but the money may not watch up.

Welker will likely be seeking elite wide receiver money, but it's unknown if the Patriots will be willing to go that far.

We'll just have to wait and see as this story develops throughout the remainder of the month. 


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