The New England Patriots and wide receiver Wes Welker remain far apart on terms for a new contract according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. The two talked on Tuesday, but discussions broke off without anything close to an agreement only an hour after the start of free agency.
With no deal in place it seems the next move is for Welker to solicit offers from around the league. With Mike Wallace signing a five-year, $65 million deal with the Dolphins on Tuesday, other free agent wide receivers are hopeful this can lead to more big contracts at the position. While no remaining free agent receiver, including Welker, will command the salary Wallace did, it is likely he will get an offer that trumps anything New England has put on the table thus far.
Welker has been a Patriot since 2007 and it is hard to imagine he would put up the same kind of numbers he has in New England on any other team in the league. He has broken both the 100 reception and 1,000 yard barriers in five of his six seasons as a Patriot and made the Pro Bowl in each of the last five seasons. His connection with Tom Brady is unquestionable and his numbers would suffer in a less pass-oriented offense.
As for the Patriots, both Brady and owner Robert Kraft have expressed a desire for Welker to return, but the front office seems to be playing hardball, at least for the time being. If they don't come to terms with Welker, expect New England to go after another free agent such as Danny Amendola or Josh Cribbs.