The Wes Welker saga continues.
The disgruntled New England Patriots wide receiver told ESPN Boston that he would likely hold out of mandatory workouts starting in June if a deal isn't in place. Welker has been looking for a contract extension since the end of last season. He was given the franchise tag, but no progress has since been made on a long-term contract.
Welker said to ESPN Boston:
"Through my body of work, through the past five years, I think what I’ve done I’ve earned a long-term deal. It’s what I am looking for and what I want. Hopefully that’s the case and hopefully we come to something where we can make that happen."
Welker didn't show up for voluntary workouts for Pats players last week. Even though he wasn't obligated to go, all players were expected to participate.
The Pats star receiver also said that he wasn't 100% sure if he would hold out, but he said that he would "probably not." He noted that holding out was his only "leverage."
"I just feel that this was the best, really the only, leverage I had is to take this route. It’s not a route I thought I’d ever take, just because that’s not me. It’s just kind of the spot I’ve been put in."
Welker is 31 years old, so age may be a reason why the Patriots seem to be reluctant to sign him to a long-term contract. Welker has not yet signed his franchise tender, which would guarantee him $9.5 million in the upcoming season.
However, the franchise tag comes with no job security, as it only covers one year. If Welker were to get injured during the season, the Pats would have no obligation to re-sign him.
Clearly, there is still some work to be done between Welker and the New England organization. Bill Belichick is most likely focusing his efforts on the upcoming draft, so progress will probably be slow in the near future.
The Pats and Welker need to get this problem solved soon. Without Welker, the Patriots are significantly less scary on offense.