July 16, 2012

Welker's time running out with Pats?

Welker and Patriots couldn't complete a long-term deal. (Source: Bleacher Report)
So the 4 p.m. deadline to sign franchised players to long-term deals passed and there were a couple notable deals. The Ravens signed Ray Rice to 5 year deal and the Bears signed Matt Forte to a four year pact. The Patriots and Wes Welker could not come to an agreement as many sites had stated would happen.

Welker will now play under the one year deal for a franchise wide receiver of $9.5million.  Of course, that is no small chunk of change but it may spell the end of Welker in a New England uniform after the 2012-2013 season. Here is ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss' take on the situation:
"Welker, who turned 31 in May, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2013. The Patriots could once again assign him the franchise tag in 2013, which would be $11.4 million. But, at that point, it might be too rich for the team's liking, especially considering quarterback Tom Brady's cap charge will be around $22 million and the league's salary cap isn't expected to rise much (if at all), setting up a less-than-desirable scenario where the depth-minded Patriots would be devoting about 25 percent of their cap on two players."
 That scenario certainly doesn't sound like something the Patriots want to get into next year.  Could a possible trade much like Randy Moss' to Minnesota for a draft pick happen with Welker? It is hard to see that happening but the Patriots do like to get value for their players.

Another possibility would be Tom Brady reworking his deal, reducing his cap number and taking that money as a signing bonus.  But taking a look at free agents that the Patriots will have in the 2013 offseason including safety Patrick Chung and offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, as well as a possible extension for Aaron Hernandez, salary cap space will be at a premium.

Welker should be able to find a team to pay him what he wants but for this season, Welker and the Pats just need to focus on getting themselves a ring.  As currently constructed the Patriots offense is a juggernaut.