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Franchise tag could be coming for Wes Welker

Super Bowl XLVI Getty Images

One of the biggest questions for the New England Patriots arises from the status of the man who committed one of the biggest drops in NFL history.  (Even though I still say it wasn’t all his fault.)

Receiver Wes Welker will become a free agent on March 13, unless the Patriots sign him to a new deal.

Appearing on Armando Salguero’s radio show in South Florida, Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe said that the Patriots will (not might, but will) use the franchise tag on Welker.

“He’s going to be tagged, that I know for pretty much certain,” Bedard said, via Salguero’s blog at the Miami Herald.  “If they don’t, he’s going to sign with the Jets and they’re going to have to try and cover him twice a year, or the Dolphins . . . .  They want him back.  I don’t see why things would change now, but the way it stood before the Super Bowl, they’re going to tag him.”

Welker joining the Dolphins would be stunning, given that the Dolphins traded Welker to the Patriots five years ago while he was a restricted free agent.

Bedard also believes things will turn contentious, with Welker holding out as long as possible, showing up in the middle of the season, signing the franchise tender, and playing out the string of remaining games.

That would be a surprise; quarterback Tom Brady surely will want Welker with the team, and Welker likely will want to atone for his Super Bowl blunder.  (Even though I still say it wasn’t all his fault.)

Regardless, drama could be descending on the Pats over the next few weeks — and it could last deep into the 2012 season.

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50 Responses to “Franchise tag could be coming for Wes Welker”
  1. jmagnet28 says: Feb 9, 2012 8:58 AM

    If they do give Welker the tag, just make sure he hangs on to it.

  2. lolb23 says: Feb 9, 2012 9:00 AM

    Catch the ball, Wes

  3. mjbulls45 says: Feb 9, 2012 9:02 AM

    he SHOULD have caught that ball,

    but if it was NOT for him, I dont think Pats even get to the SB,

    so ppl in Boston better relax, there are 31 other NFL teams that would love to have him on their squad.

    Wes should get more serious tho, no more jokes and messing around.

    also YES , the pats could have used Moss in the SB and the entire year,

    Ocho was not that guy to stretch the field,

    Welker – Moss – Branch = SB

  4. ampats says: Feb 9, 2012 9:03 AM

    See Vince Wilfork:

    Welker will be tagged and negotiate a long term deal. I remember when Mankins wasn’t coming back to NE. How did that work out?

    Jets/Dolphins?

    Why drive a Hyundai when you have been driving a Mercedes for the past 5 years?

  5. papacrick says: Feb 9, 2012 9:03 AM

    May as well leave since your QB won’t even take some of the blame for a poor throw and now the whole town is against you regardless of the great season put together.. Join a division rival and stick it to them

  6. redmanalishi says: Feb 9, 2012 9:03 AM

    Mr Kraft: Hey Wes, think fast! Catch this contract and I’ll let you become an unrestricted free agent! Awwww, you were so close. Sorry bud.

  7. mackie66 says: Feb 9, 2012 9:04 AM

    The Patriots, being a class organization,will not let the Welker signing fester during this off/on season. Which is THE reason why the Pats are in the playoffs season after season, a class act unlike some other AFC east teams.

  8. cakemixa says: Feb 9, 2012 9:06 AM

    NE better not drop the ball on this onel

  9. fmlizard says: Feb 9, 2012 9:09 AM

    My God, the NFL’s leading WR doesn’t snag a pass that was over his head and behind him on 2nd down in a Super Bowl and suddenly he is the new Bill Buckner?

    You Pats fans need to get a reality check on what it is like for the fans of about 25-30 other teams in the league.

  10. sj39 says: Feb 9, 2012 9:09 AM

    Drama has already descended upon the Patriots. It began in 2007 and is just now starting to really come to a head. The team is one mis-cue away from total dysfunction.

  11. blueglaze says: Feb 9, 2012 9:11 AM

    Ampats: Hyundai is the number one vehicle sold this year in the US… Just sayin… Haha

  12. adx321 says: Feb 9, 2012 9:12 AM

    @mjbulls45

    It’s 2012 dawg – Randy Moss isn’t in the league for a reason.

    Adding him to the Pats would have just meant another guy who isn’t a vertical threat.

    They are a dink and dunk offense and that’s really all Brady is capable of anyway.

  13. jimmysimpson55 says: Feb 9, 2012 9:12 AM

    No receiver who is wide open should have to jump and twist for a thrown ball. Brady is partly to blame.

  14. braven4evr says: Feb 9, 2012 9:15 AM

    Even if this does play out like this; BB will find someone else to replace or fill in …. he always does… WW does deserve to be paid, though…

  15. dankinator says: Feb 9, 2012 9:15 AM

    That missed catch was on Brady, not Welker. Overthrown and behind him. He reached and did as best as he could to attempt to make the catch, but physics weren’t on his side.

  16. ytsejamer1 says: Feb 9, 2012 9:17 AM

    Things didn’t work out for the team after they got rid of Branch when his time for a new contract was coming due. They better remember how that worked out in 2006. That was one of Brady’s finest seasons considering what he had to work with. I guarantee you with Branch on the field in the AFC Championship, he doesn’t drop that lollypop pass to seal the game.

  17. steelbydesign says: Feb 9, 2012 9:19 AM

    As soon as I saw that whole “butterfingers” stunt that the fans pulled I thought Wes should leave and sign with the Jets.

    The drop was bad, but the morons in Boston would vilify a guy who’s been possible the most consistent receiver in the league over the past 5 season… See how great that offense is without Welker there.

  18. lolb23 says: Feb 9, 2012 9:19 AM

    Join a division rival and stick it to them
    __________________________________

    Already played in Miami, they didn’t want him.

    Rex Ryan will be gone after Jets blow it again next season.

    Bills suck every year and that will never change.

    Keep dreaming

  19. hooks024 says: Feb 9, 2012 9:21 AM

    No slot receiver is worth the $13 million he’d cost. Smart money’s on it being used to keep him from hitting the market while a long term deal is worked out a la the superbowl champions and brandon jacobs.

  20. ricardorobertasq says: Feb 9, 2012 9:26 AM

    1. Wes could have caught that (it hit him in the hands), but it was a bad throw by Brady. Just to get to it, he had to stop, turn and jump. Not a good pass, but catchable. Like a shortstop that goes deep into the hole to catch the ball that bounces out of his glove. Not an error as it was difficult to catch, but he should have gotten it.
    2. The Dolphins did not willingly trade Wes to New England (cannot believe the amount of people that do not get this). He was going to New England no matter what. He was RFA which gave Miami the right to match any contract and receive a second round pick if he signed with another team. New England was going to put in a poison pill (if he played over 6 I think games in Miami, his contract would be guaranteed)in the contract. If Miami matched it, he would have had what no one else in the NFL has, a guaranteed contract. New England offered a 2nd (which they were going to get anyway) and 7th to avoid the poison pill. They had no choice but to accept the trade or get only a second. He was going to New England.

  21. trh33 says: Feb 9, 2012 9:28 AM

    The Patriots do allow for drama. As many people have pointed out — Wilfork, Mankins. The Pats use the tag in order to buy some time and negotiate a long term deal. Robert Kraft is on record saying he wants Wes back. Wes is on record saying he wants to be back. This will not turn ugly. This is the same player that blew his knee out in December and didnt miss a game. This is the same player that played all year knowing his contact would be up. I dont see this turning ugly at all. Maybe you have sources inside his house like you have with Brady! Maybe Welkers girlfriend wants him to hold out?

  22. 2sausage11 says: Feb 9, 2012 9:30 AM

    papacrick says:
    Feb 9, 2012 9:03 AM
    May as well leave since your QB won’t even take some of the blame for a poor throw and now the whole town is against you regardless of the great season put together.. Join a division rival and stick it to them

    ==============================
    There isn’t one person to blame. Thats why Brady didn’t blame Wes,himself or anybody else. It was a team that lost that game. All the fumbles they caused and didn’t recover,passes droped,12 men on the field and a safety. Any 1 of those plays and the out come COULD have been different not WOULD. This game was NOT a blow out. They both played a good game but the Gaints made a play or two more,close catch and some really good punts making for a long field. You want to win the game put up points and make plays on D. I saw congrats G-men hope to see you again next year.

    signed
    Pats fan

  23. hystoracle says: Feb 9, 2012 10:02 AM

    Whether Welker could/should of caught it or Brady threw a bad pass doesn’t matter if the Pats defense doesn’t let the Giants drive down the field like a hot knife through butter. In the end, the Pats year long defensive problems got them beat when it mattered.
    It was a tight game between two good teams. One team made a couple extra plays. That is football. .

  24. dubaradhandi says: Feb 9, 2012 10:03 AM

    The forum is full of ill informed idiots. The chocolate was dropped by Denver based company not Boston based. The fans are divided with respect to the mistake of catching ball. No body hates him and do not want to see him leave NE. Brady did say he will throw to welker again and it’s not his fault during post comments. You haters…

  25. rc33 says: Feb 9, 2012 10:03 AM

    steelbydesign says: Feb 9, 2012 9:19 AM

    As soon as I saw that whole “butterfingers” stunt that the fans pulled I thought Wes should leave and sign with the Jets.

    The drop was bad, but the morons in Boston would vilify a guy who’s been possible the most consistent receiver in the league over the past 5 season… See how great that offense is without Welker there.
    ————————————-

    So the butterfingers thing was done by the fans of Boston?
    Didn’t know that.

  26. haileli says: Feb 9, 2012 10:05 AM

    If Welker knows what is good for him, he’ll resign with the Patriots. I’m not saying he couldn’t succeed somewhere else, but that offense is perfectly tailored to his abilities. He has Gronkowski and Hernandez to take some of the pressure off him, but will still have the opportunity to make the clutch catches he (almost) always makes. A deal will get done. He’ll sign a slightly below market value contract after being tagged. I can’t see this dragging out, although the Mankins situation does give me slight pause.

    On a related note, it is a shame that Welker will probably be remembered for the one catch he didn’t make instead of the 607 he did while with the Patriots. I almost feel sorry for the guy. Almost.

  27. ckk415 says: Feb 9, 2012 10:07 AM

    I wonder how much money that one drop cost him?

    Regardless, as a great man once said “pay that man his money”

  28. canesgiants says: Feb 9, 2012 10:11 AM

    i agree that he prob should have caught it but it also wasnt a great pass. i think its on brady as the capt and leader to take the hit and say i should have made a better pass.

  29. patsfanforlife says: Feb 9, 2012 10:18 AM

    It wasn’t Patriots fans that pulled the “butterfingers” stunt. It was an outfit out of Denver. Patriots fans love WW.

    steelbydesign says:
    Feb 9, 2012 9:19 AM
    As soon as I saw that whole “butterfingers” stunt that the fans pulled I thought Wes should leave and sign with the Jets.

    The drop was bad, but the morons in Boston would vilify a guy who’s been possible the most consistent receiver in the league over the past 5 season… See how great that offense is without Welker there.

     

  30. dutchmaster91 says: Feb 9, 2012 10:38 AM

    Overrated. And i don’t even care about the dropped pass in the Super Bowl. That wasn’t entirely his fault. I’ve been saying this for years now. He’s replaceable, as are all slot receivers. Let Edelmen take his place and spend the money on defense.

  31. rexismybff says: Feb 9, 2012 10:39 AM

    Rocky Bleier didn’t drop that ball:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/featured/8624/index.htm

  32. jakek2 says: Feb 9, 2012 10:41 AM

    There was still 4 mins to play. Geez. That drop did not cost the Pats the game.

  33. ampats says: Feb 9, 2012 10:45 AM

    The butterfingers stunt was put on by a website out of Tebowland called pawngo.com

    I would encourage all Patriot fans to go on the site and when the customer service person clicks in to ask you if you need help, let them know exactly what we Patriot fans thought of the stunt.

    I did last night and told her to tell their CEO to go f-himself. Lets see if we Pats fans can bring down the site ! 10K hits!

  34. egwett says: Feb 9, 2012 10:52 AM

    I keep reading “catch the ball”, and hearing “Welker’s drop” on sports talk radio. I don’t know what everybody was watching. I’ve been a Patriots fan since the mid 70s, as soon a I was old enough to start to understand football. I wouldn’t trade Tom Brady for anybody, but that throw to Welker with a wide open lane was garbage!! Just bc Wes was able spin around in mid-air and make contact with the ball doesn’t make it catchable. Def need Wes back and let’s start placing blame where it belongs, on the all-world QB who threw a crappy ball.

  35. dissed215 says: Feb 9, 2012 10:59 AM

    Settle down Pats fans….if it weren’t for WR’s that drop passes the Pats would of never even been in the Super Bowl.

  36. CKL says: Feb 9, 2012 11:03 AM

    One player/one play is never responsible for a loss. Ever.
    I hope WW finishes his career as a Patriot. He’s a player any team would love to have. IMO he was their MVP in 09 too.

  37. tedmurph says: Feb 9, 2012 11:06 AM

    @ytsejamer1:
    Pats didn’t think Branch was worth 39mil, so they traded him for a first. Branch proved not to be worth it for Seattle. Pats have a system and they stick to it. Can’t sign everyone.

    @ricardorobertasq:
    Most of what you said is true. But, if Miami had realized what they had and given Welker a first round tender instead of a 2nd, for an extra 600k, they prob coulda kept him. I doubt NE was willing to give up a 1rst.
    ———————————————————-
    Hate to say it, but watching how the Pats do business, I think they’ll have Welker play under the franchise tag for one yr while agreeing not to franchise him again, like ASamuel, so he won’t hold out. After this yr he’ll be 32 and has taken a pounding. Let him walk then.

  38. c1m6 says: Feb 9, 2012 11:12 AM

    It’s alright Wes, they wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for you in the first place

  39. deadmanwalking47 says: Feb 9, 2012 11:28 AM

    welker dropped 1 pass that was damn near over his head.deion branch and hernandez dropped passes right to them.there is a difference new england fans.

  40. hoodiehollywood says: Feb 9, 2012 11:35 AM

    Okay let’s get this straight, Boston fans did not do that stupid butter finger thing. It was some online pawn shop NOT based out of boston. It is amazing how little facts matter to some people on this site.

  41. rabidbillsfan says: Feb 9, 2012 11:44 AM

    Must be an AFC East thing, dropping game winning balls. Any who, Welker is not worth $13 Mil. which is the franchise tender for WO this season. He is a $7-9 Mil. guy, if you think only Welker can do what he does, your wrong. Tom Brady makes the short passing game go, along with the other 4 WR on the field. Save the cash, upgrade your defense, and get a longball guy and a Welker wannabe, you’ll save money.

  42. trubroncfan07 says: Feb 9, 2012 11:54 AM

    Karma has a way of working it self out. I say they lose another bowl in the next three years, and then they should get back to winning the big one again. Got make up for the games they cheated in.

  43. 2sausage11 says: Feb 9, 2012 11:57 AM

    The CEO from the company that pulled the Butterfinger stunt

    http://pawngo.com/blog/uncategorized/i-apologize-_-a-message-from-our-founder

  44. tedmurph says: Feb 9, 2012 12:08 PM

    Franchise tag for WR in 2012 is 9.4mil. Pats are 20-25mil under the cap.

  45. zaggs says: Feb 9, 2012 12:15 PM

    “Dropped pass”, on second down, with your team in the lead? That ain’t the game. Pats gotta look beyond Welker for that loss.

  46. mjdkid100 says: Feb 9, 2012 12:25 PM

    fmlizard says: Feb 9, 2012 9:09 AM

    My God, the NFL’s leading WR doesn’t snag a pass that was over his head and behind him on 2nd down in a Super Bowl and suddenly he is the new Bill Buckner?

    You Pats fans need to get a reality check on what it is like for the fans of about 25-30 other teams in the league.

    —————————-

    If you believe these are Pats fans talking negatively about Welker, I have some water front property to sell you.

  47. patsfiend says: Feb 9, 2012 12:25 PM

    sj39 says:
    Drama has already descended upon the Patriots. It began in 2007 and is just now starting to really come to a head. The team is one mis-cue away from total dysfunction.
    ===========
    More like, one mis-cue away from winning a super bowl.

    I remember just last year when fools like you were claiming Mankins was going to walk, too. How did that work out?

    Either they’ll sign or franchise (and then sign) Welker. Contrary to what was written here, no “drama” will be descending on the Pats, who are the best run team in football, “well into the season.”

    Did you SEE the interviews with Brady and Welker just after the game? Brady would have thrown it to him again, and Welker (who is a warrior) was clearly upset. They are they anti Sanchez / Holmes, and nobody I know is calling for their heads, nor should they be.

    Keep dreaming / hoping / hating.

  48. j0esixpack says: Feb 9, 2012 12:44 PM

    It’s very premature to say this will “turn ugly” and even if it does, ask Mankins or even Ty Law if damaged relations can be repaired.

    The Pats are within their rights to tag Welker, who is within his rights to sit out for a time. Patriots fans are smart enough to know the business side of football and they accept it – in return for having their team in the Super Bowl 5 out of the last 10 years.

    Hopefully a fair deal gets done before it comes to that, but it should be expected that the Pats will buy themselves some leverage and extra negotiating time by tagging him.

  49. rockthered1286 says: Feb 9, 2012 1:10 PM

    Not that this is likely at all, BUT I would love the Pats to let him walk because he’d be a great fit for Baltimore. Hear me out: Joe’s protection is so-so, leaving a small window for a pass. With an actual deep threat to stretch the D that the Pats don’t have, and a top notch RB which the Pats lack, Welker would have more room to operate. And with a solid D on the other side, I think Baltimore would present a viable opportunity for Welker to remain on a playoff team year in year out (longest current streak in Playoffs). Plus the one thing Baltimore missed this year was a solid guy in the slot, and other than Torrey getting open deep, not even Boldin could get separation. We also have the 2 solid TE’s (the B team to NE’s TE’s) and I really think the passing game could go to a whole new level with that addition.

    Again not that it would happen, but I can dream.

    Now let the ‘release one WR with the drops for another’ comments ensue. Only difference? Flacco made a great throw. Brady did not.

  50. jkcranshaw says: Feb 9, 2012 3:03 PM

    As a Pats fan I would love to see them reach a deal for Welker, shed Ocho, and make a run for a FA WR like Brandon Lloyd (who has a relationship with Josh McDaniels).

    Welker, the 2 TE’s, Lloyd and the other NE complimentary pieces would really make a difference in an already dangerous passing game. I am also interested to see what the sophmore seasons for the two rookie running backs will show.

    There is a chance for NE to also get some impact defensive talent with their first round picks. Adding someone Hightower to the LB corps with Mayo and Spikes would make them one of the best young LB groups in the NFL. This should be a very interesting off season for the Pats, which points to them only getting better from a 13-3 season with a Super Bowl appearance.

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