Light said on CSN Sports Tonight that Welker deserves to be back with the team:
"If you take the heart and soul away from a team, it's not like open-heart surgery these days," former Patriots lineman Matt Light said on ComcastSportsNet's Sports Tonight. "He's a guy that you have (to) try to find a way to make him right. I think he made really good money last year, and I think you can't argue that fact. The way the league is set up right now, they're going to be able to push it to the nth degree, but at some point you have to say just do the right thing for the guy, he's been there long enough."
Welker, 31, is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March. His contract was up after the 2011 season, but the Patriots brought him back under the franchise tag.
Welker has spent the last six seasons with the Patriots after he was acquired in a trade from the Miami Dolphins. Welker has been one of the best receivers in football in that span, catching 672 passes for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns. He has led the league in catches three times with the Patriots.
If the Patriots choose to franchise Welker again, he'd cost the team $11.4 million in 2013, according to ESPN's James Walker.
Throughout the contract negotiations, Welker hasn't said much:
Welker commented on his contract negotiations [at the end of the 2012 season]: "I'm not sure," he said in regards to his future contract. "I'm not worried about that right now." Welker continues to say he isn't worried about a new deal.
The Patriots have another wide receiver decision to wade through. Julian Edelman is also an unrestricted free agent. Edelman has been called "the future Wes Welker" before, but he hasn't been on the field consistently to show it. Edelman is versatile though, which is a big positive in Bill Belichick's book. Edelman is a kick/punt returner, and he also played defensive back in 2011. If the Patriots keep Edelman, he could slide into the slot role full-time to replace Welker.