Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots gains yards against the defense of Jamaal Westerman #55 of the New York Jets in the second half at Gillette Stadium on October 9, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
By all indications it appears that the New England Patriots and wide receiver Wes Welker, playing under the franchise tag for 2012, won't come to agreement on a contract extension between now and tomorrow's 4:00 PM deadline for franchise players.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, who cites a source close to Welker, it would take a "Hail Mary" to get a deal done at this point, and that the expectation is that the sides won't come to an agreement:
A source close to Welker said that as of Saturday dialogue between the sides wasn't overly active. The source said that at this point, it would be a surprise if an extension was reached, but cautioned that things always could shift as the deadline approaches.
The sides have been negotiating on and off since last season, so the framework for a potential extension is in place should talks spark over the next two days. That potentially could help Welker and the team beat Monday's deadline despite the current lack of momentum in negotiations. But, it might be wishful thinking for those hoping for an extension that likely would be in the three-year range.
If the sides don't come to an agreement, it will mean that it would cost the Patriots more than $11 million to retain Welker under the franchise tag in 2013. At that point, he will also be another year older, making it even tougher for the sides to come to an agreeable length on a contract. In short, if no deal is done between now and 4:00 PM tomorrow, it could mean that this upcoming season could very well be Welker's last in New England.
Consider this a disappointing turn to an otherwise exciting Patriots offseason.