According to Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe that is the case, and I, as usual, agree with him. Bedard writes that of the New England Patriots free agency, Wes Welker “stands the best chance” to be re-signed, and Bedard believes that Welker will get his new deal before the start of free agency on the 12th of March.
Welker and the Patriots have been making some real progress ever since they started hitting the negotiating table shortly after the restructuring of Tom Brady‘s contract. Reports have stated that the Pats and Welker are looking at a long-term deal of around three years, and the importance of re-signing Welker has increased after news from outlets such as CSNNE stated that the there is a good chance of the Patriots not picking up Brandon Lloyd‘s $3 million option on the 16th of this month.
The Patriots were never going to franchise Wes Welker, because that would mean giving him over $11 million as a back-to-back franchise tag player. Although Welker holds a high amount of importance to this team, it would be ridiculous to give him that much money for just one year, especially since both sides are making progress towards a long-term pact.
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports had sources tell him Welker is still upset over the fact that the Patriots reduced his role early in the 2012 season and started Julian Edelman in the opener. I honestly think this is a non-issue, even if Cole wrote that “Welker’s camp” (I seriously think his agents have far more “erratic behavior” than Brandon Lloyd- or just severe paranoia) is afraid of the same happening to him if he signs a deal.
This is a non-issue, because the Patriots aren’t stupid. They aren’t going to reduce the role of a wide receiver who caught 118 passes and showed plenty of durability, whereas Julian Edelman was not as productive and was injured twice. The Pats will re-sign Edelman (I certainly hope so), but there is no way they will hash out a fairly lucrative deal to Welker and just diminish his snaps.
Another note from Bedard’s piece that I find interesting is the fact that he thinks the Patriots could get a couple of cornerbacks for the same price as Aqib Talib. I think Talib is the third-best free agent corner behind Brent Grimes and Chris Houston. To me, Houston would be a steal, and I would sign Grimes in a hearbeat (he could also come cheaper than his market value due to the injury) if the Atlanta Falcons surprisingly can’t keep him. I agree with Bedard here, Talib is starting to get overvalued.
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