FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots runs past Yeremiah Bell #37 of the Miami Dolphins during the fourth quarterof New England's 27-24 win at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
With the NFL meetings kicking off on Monday in Palm Beach, Florida, there will likely be another flurry of free agent signings being made with player agents and team general managers and owners in town. For the Patriots, it could give them an opportunity to work on an extension for a key player, their "franchise player".
Tom E. Curran of CSN New England reports that the Patriots and start wideout Wes Welker could meet to discuss a possible contract extension, an issue that has yet to be resolved. New England slapped the franchise tag on Welker in early March, but he has reportedly not yet signed the franchise tender. As of Sunday, Welker's agent David Dunn says there is nothing new to report. More from Curran (courtesy of Comcast Sportsnet New England)
With Dunn at The Breakers and the Patriots' brass here is well, this is the best chance for the sides to meet face-to-face.
Given the money foisted upon wideouts since the start of free agency, the fact New England gets Welker on a one-year deal for less than $10 million is cost effective.
Welker, of course, would like the security of a multi-year deal and the payout that would come with whatever guaranteed money was included.
The Patriots' multi-year offer last fall was reportedly worth $16 million over two years and guaranteed.
Contract length is not as big a sticking point as total value and amount paid in the first two years.
Because their reported first extension offer to Welker was fully guaranteed, I believe it is in the best interest of the organization to lock Welker into an extension, and it's something I think they'll ultimately do. The problem will be meeting Welker and his agents in the middle.
Welker's reportedly looking close to a fully guaranteed $10 million season--a slight raise to what he'd be getting with the franchise tag in 2012. If they envision Welker being here for years to come, they'd be wise to extend him now, as the value of the franchise tag will continue to rise each year it's used on a specific player.
In a perfect world, the Patriots and Welker work out an extension in the neighborhood of two-years and $20 million, fully guaranteed. It seems more of a players contract, but when guys like Vincent Jackson are getting close to $13 million a season, a Welker deal in this neighborhood seems like a great one for both sides.
The four-time pro bowler and two-time all pro receiver has proven himself extremely valuable to the franchise. He's totaled 514 receptions and 7,226 yards with 32 career touchdowns in his five years in New England. Despite his infamous Super Bowl drop, he's one of the most reliable targets on the field for Tom Brady, and is one of the most consistently high performing receivers in the NFL.
Welker wants to be here long term, the Patriots want him here long term. Let's make a deal! Maybe even this week!