Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Wes Welker, New England Patriots close to deal

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Based on all the reports that have been circulating and sources talking over the past few weeks, it sounds like the New England Patriots and wide receiver Wes Welker are close to a long-term deal. Now, we have some confirmation on that from Mike Giardi of CSNNE.com, who is reporting that Welker and the Patriots are close to a multi-year deal.

A league source told Giardi that both sides are hoping to get this deal finalized before the deadline on the 12th of March, and this is certainly great news for Patriots fans. With all the stuff floating around about Brandon Lloyd, Welker has become more of a priority. After notching 118 catches last season, Welker showed that he is still the focal point of the offense.

Tom Brady‘s new deal not only sent a message to Welker about getting things done for the good of the team, but it also made a deal for Welker easier on a more practical level. Since Brady’s deal saved $15 million in cap space over the next two seasons, the path for Welker to get a deal done became set. It sounds like a deal is about to be completed, and Greg Bedard stated earlier that he thinks Welker has the best chance of getting a deal done before the deadline among Patriots free agents.

The Pats hold most of the leverage, because ESPN’s Ed Werder reported today that there likely won’t be a big market for Wes Welker. More importantly, the star wideout has shown that he cares more about keeping his legacy in New England than “chasing the paper” the way former Pats corner Asante Samuel did when he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Welker is an important piece to this team, and I’m glad to hear that Welker and the Patriots are getting even closer to getting a long-term deal done. Let’s be honest here, it would be much harder to win another Super Bowl without him. After all, it isn’t easy to replace an almost guaranteed 100 receptions per season.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: New England Patriots NFL Free Agency Wes Welker

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