Will Patriots WR Wes Welker Become a Free Agent in 2013?
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Consider this your two weeks' notice.
The New England Patriots and wide receiver Welker have merely two weeks left to hammer out a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline, at which time the league's leader in receptions over the past five years will ride out his one-year franchise tag without the security of a multi-year contract.
But what happens after that?
ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton offers his thoughts in a video recently posted by AFC East blogger James Walker, saying, "I think the likelihood is that Welker is probably going to end up playing at $9.5 million on the franchise tag and then becoming a free agent."
Clayton also adds:
When you look at it, he is a slot receiver, and now you have tight ends getting seven, eight and nine million dollars. It's tough to really craft something that's going to do well. ...The top slot receiver is [Ravens wide receiver] Anquan Boldin making $8.3 million a year.
Contract negotiations have not gone swimmingly between the two sides, and there have been multiple reports of a stalemate. There have even been reports, according to the Boston Herald, that the Patriots' initial offer of two years at $16 million—an offer extended during the 2011 season—was reduced when the two sides got back to the negotiating table.
Will Wes Welker become a free-agent in 2013?
We've already detailed why Welker would be a fit in any NFL offense, and there are proponents for and against a long-term deal between the two sides. But what do you think will happen? Will Welker and the Patriots find common ground before it's too late? Or will time run out on what has been a successful partnership over the past five years?
Either way, the clock is ticking.
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