The deadline to apply the franchise tag is fast approaching and to no one's surprise the New England Patriots plan to use the tag on receiver Wes Welker. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the tag will be applied sometime before the 4 p.m. (ET) deadline on Monday afternoon.
Welker is among the obvious franchise tag guys. He's an integral part of New England's highly successful offense and at 30 years old he still has several productive seasons ahead of him. This is an easy decision for New England.
The hard part comes in negotiating a long-term deal for Welker. He's Tom Brady's best receiver and has put up incredible numbers since joining the Patriots. That means he'll need to be paid like a big-time receiver. It'll be interesting to see what kind of money he gets but top receivers are getting over a $9 million per year average on new contracts.
The Patriots will have until July 15 to sign him to a long-term deal and, if they don't, Welker will have to play the season under the estimated $9.4 million franchise tag number.