If you've been losing sleep regarding the potential departure from New England of one Wes Welker, there may be a silver lining to the bad dream cloud that's keeping you awake.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Patriots may be planning to avoid another tag or the prospect of losing Welker altogether, in the form of a contract extension.
Easily the most productive NFL receiver over the past several years, he's a first-down machine. He's also, however, a slot receiver, and he's a little older, making it tougher for him to be paid like an elite pass-catcher. The Patriots won't apply the franchise tag to him, we know that. And yet ... Albert Breer and I have both heard that we can't rule out a long-term extension being reached before Welker hits free agency. The door is still open for him to get his money and retire a Patriot. What would a deal look like? In my mind -- just trying to gain an understanding of the market -- if Welker can get a five-year deal worth more than $8 million per year, that'd be impressive. It just makes too much sense for both sides to get something done. If you have the best slot receiver in the game, and he's also one of Tom Brady's best weapons, how can you let him leave?
This has to be welcome news to Pats' fans. Welker may be getting older and he may be susceptible to some inopportune drops. But he's also the most valuable player the Pats have on offense not named Brady and is among the toughest players in the league. Plus, the QB and the owner have both gone on record as saying they'd like to see him back.
Add all of this up and it looks like Welker not only returning to Foxboro but remaining for a few more years as well may not be so far-fetched.