The Patriots and receiver Wes Welker have until Monday afternoon to reach an agreement on a long-term contract extension. Welker doesn’t think it’s going to happen.
A source close to Welker told Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com that the two sides weren’t engaged in active dialogue, and it would be a surprise if an extension was reached.
Welker signed the franchise tender and will play the 2012 season for the franchise salary of $9.5 million barring an unexpected agreement today or tomorrow. So for the Patriots and Welker, these negotiations (or lack thereof) are all about 2013 and beyond.
If Welker stays healthy and effective and has another 120-catch season, the Patriots would likely franchise Welker again in March, at a salary of $11.4 million. But if the 31-year-old Welker starts to show signs of age this season, the Patriots will probably let him hit the free agent market next year.
So it’s entirely possible that when Welker signed the franchise tender, he was signing the last contract he’ll ever have with the Patriots.