Wide receiver Wes Welker and the New England Patriots are in the midst of a contract standoff that has conjured up memories of so many standoffs between the Patriots and their players in recent history.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke to Kim Jones of the NFL Network in regards to the negotiations, and had the following to say:
"We'd like to see him be a Patriot for life, but it takes two sides. We're just happy he's back in the system. He's a wonderful young man and a special guy. I think both sides would like to do a deal, but it requires intelligence and putting our team first."
While Kraft appears to have put the brakes on Welker's runaway train out of Foxboro, there's an equally important and unspoken five word phrase that is missing from that statement: 'if the price is right.'
Welker tried to backtrack on his comments, but the message was clear: he isn't 100 percent satisfied with the direction the talks are going.
Kraft didn't exactly reveal some sort of hidden secret in his comments or make any sort of concession that could help get talks moving the right direction.
It's totally understandable that Kraft wouldn't want to go too far outside the realm of realistic and sensible value for Welker, but there are plenty of ways around it, and two solid ideas have already been proposed by Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston and Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe.
Reiss' proposal has Welker averaging $8.6 million a year and making a total of $22 million in guaranteed money. Bedard's has Welker making $10 million per year with $18 million guaranteed the next two seasons, but believes it should have incentives later on in the deal so that Welker can continue to earn his money at 34 and 35 years old.
But not everyone thinks that the Patriots should break the bank for Welker, as Bucky Brooks of NFL.com points out three reasons why they shouldn't: he's 31 years old, he's a product of the system, and he's a slot receiver as opposed to a true No. 1.
While the first part of the statement is fact, the final two parts are opinion based; could another receiver excel as Welker has in the role he plays in the offense? Does Welker's presence on the field impact the game in a big enough way to be considered a No. 1 receiver?
These are likely a couple of the topics at hand as the Patriots and Welker try to find what the right price is.