Welker joined the Patriots in 2007 and has been a fixture in the Pats lineup, and at the top of the receiving leader boards, since.
The Pats acquired Welker in ’07 and signed him to a five-year, $18.1 million deal. That deal expired, and after this season he will be an unrestricted free agent—a bad situation for the Patriots.
Welker has been an absolute pass-catching magnet for the Patriots. He has over 100 receptions in four of his five seasons with the Pats. The only season he didn’t hit the mark was 2010-11. He finished the season with 86 receptions.
As the premier slot receiver in the NFL, Welker will get top-dollar on the free-agent market. That’s a decision the Patriots will have to live with after being unable to reach a long-term deal with the 31-year-old veteran.
His current deal, as a franchise player for the Patriots, is a one-year tender worth $9.5 million. But, as previously mentioned, he will be an unrestricted free agent at year’s end.
This is a bad situation for the Patriots, who could lose a significant part of their offense next offseason.