Patriots receiver Wes Welker signed his franchise tender last week, then complained that the Patriots had reduced the value of the contract they were offering him, then said he shouldn’t have said that. The man who signs Welker’s paychecks is offering a more consistent perspective on the matter.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft said at the league meeting this morning that he wants to get a long-term deal done with Welker, but he stressed — as the Patriots always do — that they’re not going to do anything that doesn’t fit the team concept.
“We’d like to see him be a Patriot for life, but it takes two sides,” Kraft said on NFL Network. “We’re just happy he’s back in the system. He’s a wonderful young man and a special guy. I think both sides would like to do a deal, but it requires intelligence and putting our team first.”
Welker and the Patriots have until July 16 to work out a long-term contract extension. If that doesn’t happen, Welker will play this year on the franchise player salary of $9.5 million, and then next year he’ll either become an unrestricted free agent, get franchised again (at a tender of at least $11.4 million), or finally work out a long-term deal with the team.