Dec 24, 2011; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) carries the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

To franchise, or not to franchise

Wes Welker has arrived at free agency, and he’s another key player the Patriots will need to do something about. He led the NFL with 122 receptions this year, and also led the league in 2007 and 2009. Along with Rob Gronkowski, he was Tom Brady’s go-to guy in 2011.

The Patriots desperately need to keep him, since he’s such an integral part of the offense. They also need to put in some serious work shoring up the defense, and need an outside WR as well.

Welker hasn’t made a fuss about his contract, but you can be sure that it’s on his mind. Tom Curran of seems to think the Patriots will let him test the free agent waters, but I think that might be a mistake. They need to franchise him, try to work out a long term deal, and keep him on the Patriots for the next few years.

Wes Welker is a huge part of this offense, and won’t be easy to replace. Let’s not let his Super Bowl drop cloud our judgment. Welker’s needed here in New England, and the Pats need to do whatever it takes to keep him here.

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Tags: Franchise Tag NFL Free Agency Wes Welker

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