Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet New England confirms that the Patriots have placed the franchise tag on receiver Wes Welker ahead of Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
The Patriots had contract talks with Welker throughout last season and up until March 5, but they have yet to produce a long-term deal. Welker will receive a guaranteed salary of roughly $9.4 million should he play the 2012 season under the one-year franchise tender.
Welker joins DeSean Jackson as the only two wide receivers to be franchise tagged so far, although Dwayne Bowe is likely to be slapped with the mechanism before Monday’s deadline.
Bills wideout Stevie Johnson signed a long-term deal. Aside from Bowe, the top remaining free agent receivers include Vincent Jackson, Brandon Lloyd, Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne, Robert Meachem, and Mario Manningham.