Wes Welker Not Likely To Get Long-Term Contract Deal With Patriots

Wes Welker looks like he won’t be getting a long-term contract from the New England Patriots.

Welker has until Monday afternoon to reach a long-term deal with the Patriots, as players given the franchise tag have until 4 p.m. to sign new contracts or else negotiations are moved until 2013, USA Today reported. Welker, who has led the league in receptions since 2007, has reportedly gotten nowhere with the Patriots in contract talks.

ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss said it would take a “Hail Mary” for Welker to sign a new deal with the Patriots, reporting that a source close to Welker said that it would be a surprise is an extension is reached. The source did add that talks could still shift as the deadline nears, and because the sides have been in talks dating back to last season there is at least a framework in place.

If the two sides don’t reach a deal the 2012 season could be the last for the wide receiver, ESPN‘s AFC East blogger James Walker writes.There is little urgency on the part of the Patriots, who seem fine keeping Wes Welker with the one-year franchise tag, Walker reported.

Though the Patriots have rising stars in tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker remained the focal point of the team’s passing offense. In 2011 he had a career-high 1,569 receiving yards to go along with nine touchdown catches.

Wes Welker’s franchise tag ensures that he will earn $9.5 million for the 2012 season in a fully guaranteed deal. The Patriots could still use the franchise tag on Welker the following season for $11.4 million, but the team likely wouldn’t have the salary cap space with Tom Brady’s charge costing the team $22 million.