A day after saying he had nine and a half million reasons to play this year, Patriots receiver Wes Welker has decided to accept those nine and a half million reasons as good enough to get going now.
Welker has signed the one-year, $9.5 million franchise tag, Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe reports.
There was never any question of whether Welker would miss any regular-season playing time, but there was some concern in New England that Welker would remain unsigned into training camp. Instead, he has a deal done before the start of organized team activities on May 21.
Welker and the Patriots have both expressed an interest in getting more than just a one-year deal done, and it’s still possible that will happen before the July 16 deadline for franchise players to sign long-term deals. But for now, Welker is in the fold with his 2012 base salary guaranteed.
The signing of Welker makes a crowded receiver depth chart in New England even more crowded: The Patriots also have veteran holdovers Deion Branch, Chad Ochocinco, Matthew Slater and Julian Edelman, this year’s free agent signings Brandon Lloyd, Anthony Gonzalez and Donte Stallworth, and seventh-round rookie Jeremy Ebert.