Wes Welker and the New England Patriots could not come to an agreement on a contract by Monday’s 4 PM deadline
The only two members of the New England Patriots organization that will never leave until they retire are Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
The Patriots proved this again on Monday afternoon.
Monday was the day that a deal with franchise tagged player Wes Welker was supposed to come to a long-term deal, that the two sides were going to come to some kind of agreement and Wes Welker would remain in Foxboro for seemingly the rest of his career. It might not have been what Welker necessarily wanted or maybe a little bit more than what the Patriots wanted to pay, but Welker had certainly earned a contract with his play over the past five seasons and the Patriots wanted him around because he was one of quarterback Tom Brady’s favorite targets.
Nope. The two sides couldn’t agree on a contract, the Patriots wouldn’t budge. Wes Welker will play under the $9.5 million franchise tag.
I would like to pretend as a fan that I was surprised that it came to this, but I’m not. Once the Patriots get a value in their head about what a player is worth, they don’t budge. No one (except Tom Brady and Bill Belichick) are bigger than the team. Just because one player has given the team production over the years, doesn’t make them un-replaceable, the Patriots always believe they will find the next guy to take that guys spot.
No long term deal for Welker? Expected. Am I angry? Not really. While Welker is one of my favorite Patriots, I have become numb to the Patriot way and how they conduct business. I trust in everything the Patriots do and find it almost impossible to question anything they do. Five Super Bowl appearances, one 16-0 regular season, and three Super Bowl championships will do that to you as a fan.
The bigger question becomes whether or not they will get a deal done next off-season. More than likely, the Patriots will not apply the franchise tag to Welker and let him become an unrestricted free-agent. The question whether or not the Patriots give him what he wants or he takes the Patriots’ offer will depend on his play next season.
Welker is a professional. Barring an injury, Welker will continue to play well and earn a contract with someone, be it the Patriots or someone else. He’s getting older, the Patriots won’t budge.
Let’s not talk about the next year though. Welker will be back for at least another year and I expect him to play just as well as he always have and be a key cog in the Patriots system.