Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/13/13
Free agency was supposed to help clear up Wes Welker‘s future. It may have just made it murkier. While Welker was reportedly waiting to test free agency before considering whatever the Patriots are offering for a new deal, not much has changed since the negotiating period opened Tuesday at 4 p.m. Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald reports that Welker and the Patriots talked, but “they’re not in a happy place,” and a deal “isn’t anywhere near close to happening.” With the sides “miles apart,” Welker and the Patriots are now going their separate ways — at least for the time being, Guregian reports. The Patriots have reportedly looked into other options at slot receiver, including Josh Cribbs of the Browns. The two sides’ inability to work out a deal immediately isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, however. Reports arose several weeks ago that both sides had very different expectations coming into the new contract, meaning that even if a new deal works out, as most expect, it likely will take a while. Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe was in that camp Tuesday, noting soon after free agency opened that “Welker and the Patriots are going to dance a while — could be a week. Both sides aren’t close on a deal. What the Patriots have offered is not a real offer.” Bedard said the Patriots’ chances remain strong because the market isn’t great for Welker. At 31, Welker is getting up in years and has some serious mileage and hits on his record, not to mention his smaller-than-typical-NFL body. With teams looking to pay Welker for what he can do in the future, rather than his stats-packed pass, the Pats likely have the edge.
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