NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, who has been the go to source on all things franchise player related this week, puts the odds for Wes Welker signing a long term deal with the Patriots at “50/50”. The Patriots and Welker are apart both financially (by the amount of 6 million guaranteed) and “philosophically,” which would appear to be an insurmountable difference with so little time before Monday’s 4 PM ET deadline.
However, Welker is aging and knows how much better off he is in New England’s system and with Tom Brady throwing him the football. He’s already caved once this offseason and signed the tender over a month before was necessary and when the team told him to backtrack on his public statement that he was “frustrated” with negotiations, he did. He could cave again. Right now, the two sides are working on a deal 3 years in length worth between 20-24 million maximum, but guaranteed money is what’s holding it up. Welker was offered a 2 year, 16 million dollar deal last season and rejected it. He’s owed 9.515 million in 2012 if he does not sign a long term deal.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If a long term deal is not reached, I would not be surprised in the least if the Patriots traded him. They’d almost definitely be selling him high and he’s had no career success outside of New England. They also have a decent amount of receiving depth behind him. The Patriots are no strangers to making shocking moves, such as trading Richard Seymour, trading Randy Moss, or cutting Lawyer Milloy. Unless he’s signed long term, Welker could be had in a trade for the right price. The Patriots would likely ask for at least a 2nd rounder in return.