Wes Welker’s decision to sign the franchise tag the Patriots put on him earlier this offseason hasn’t done much to tone down any negative feelings that may have been generated over the last few months.
Welker aired his grievances about the way negotiations were (or weren’t, depending on your point of view) progressing with the Patriots on a new contract. Welker said that the team has dropped their offer from two years and $16 million, a revelation that isn’t sitting well with the team.
Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe reports that Welker’s public comments about the state of negotiations have not gone over well with the team. Per Young, the wide receiver’s “words have only increased the chances that 2012 will be his final season with the team.”
The Patriots haven’t had much problem saying goodbye to key players in the past. Richard Seymour, Deion Branch and Asante Samuel were all allowed to seek their fortune elsewhere after getting into contract squabbles with the team. Things don’t always play out that way, however. Logan Mankins wound up with a new deal after a more dramatic fight than we’ve seen from Welker, although he was younger and healthier than Welker when he took his stand.
There are still two months to go until the deadline to sign Welker to a long-term deal so there will surely be further developments on this front. Whether or not they play out publicly is another question after this week’s exchange of fire between the two sides.