Monday, January 21, 2013
Where will Welker wind up?
By Tim Kavanagh
With the New England Patriots' season wrapping up on Sunday night via a loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the speculation concerning the identity of Wes Welker's 2013 employer will now ramp up significantly.
Welker received the Pats' franchise tag for 2012, and after the two sides could not come to an agreement on an extended deal, he played out the campaign on that one-year contract (for $9.5 million). At this point, it seems unlikely that the Patriots would tag Welker again, seeing as this would result in a one-year pact for around $11.4 million, as noted by ESPN AFC East blogger James Walker.
This is not to say that the Pats and Welker will not work out some sort of deal to keep him on the roster in 2013 and beyond, but there's certainly a chance that he'll hit unrestricted free agency when the next league year begins. There are a slew of WR-needy teams around the league, and Welker could certainly boost any offense that had a need for a player of his ilk, such as the Cowboys, Dolphins, Rams, Lions, Panthers, Bills and Jets. Some of these clubs won't have the cap flexibility to make the move -- and they must also weigh Welker's future performance catching passes from their respective QBs as opposed to Tom Brady -- but this figures to be one of the more exciting free agent pursuits of the offseason.