Wes Welker: New England Patriots Receiver Should Shut Up, Sign Franchise Tender

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIMay 15, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Wide receiver Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots drops a pass late in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Wes Welker claims he has 9.5 million reasons to play in 2012, and if that's the case, he should sign his franchise tender and participate in New England's offseason activities. 

The 31-year-old receiver told WEEI radio on Monday that negotiations on a long-term contract with the Patriots wouldn't stretch into the regular season. Welker then went on to say he wouldn't miss any regular-season games because it would cost him a portion of his $9.5 million franchise tender if he did. 

If that's the case, and if he's going to eventually work out a long-term deal with the Patriots, Welker should just sign his franchise tender while the two sides negotiate. Last month, Welker claimed he probably wasn't going to attend the team's mandatory minicamp, but yesterday, he implied that he would like to be there.

After such a disappointing finish to the season, with a close loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots need to come together and regroup. New England needs all of its key pieces and leaders to be there the whole offseason. 

Welker knows how important the upcoming season will be.

With quarterback Tom Brady set to turn 35 this offseason, New England's window for another championship is rapidly closing. The team's star wideout has to know that and has to know how important it is for him to be on hand. 

The Patriots franchised Welker because they need him and didn't want to risk losing their top wideout through free agency. Both sides are working on a long-term deal, but until that happens, he has to re-assume his position of leadership on the team. 

New England needs Wes Welker to be in camp, because the 2012 season will be one of the most important in franchise history.

Virtually everyone believes the Patriots and their top receiver will get a long-term deal done. Because of that, he should sign his tender and participate in team activities.