The apocalypse was upon us earlier this season when we all though the Patriots were phasing Wes Welker out of the offense so they could prepare for his impending departure.
Welker had already signed his $9.5 million franchise tag, and everyone figured since the Patriots didn’t lock him up for the long-term, Welker would be allowed to walk at the end of the season.
Either the Julian Edelman experiment didn’t work or the Patriots feel Welker is important, because according to CBSSports.com, the Patriots could end up placing the franchise tag on Wes Welker again for 2013 season.
Welker was asked about the possibility this week, but turned down the opportunity to address it. ESPN Boston talked about it this week, and according to Mike Reiss, Welker definitely could be franchised again.
Reiss:I see the Patriots assigning another franchise tag on Welker in the offseason because he’s too valuable to let walk. But here’s one issue that looms: If Welker is tagged at $11.4 million, and you combine that with quarterback Tom Brady’s approximate $22 million cap hit as a result of his 2012 restructuring, that’s about 27 percent of the team’s cap space on two players — not the type of cap distribution the Patriots prefer because it affects the ability to build depth.
The smart move would be to work with Welker on some type of extension that would be good for both parties involved. If the Patriots are unable to lock up Welker, I can think of about twenty teams who would.