Patriots Franchise Tag WR Wes Welker
Published: Monday, March 5, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 00:03
Whether you look at him as the guy who led the NFL with 122 receptions last year or the man who dropped a catch that could have led to a Super Bowl XLVI victory -- one thing we do know is that Wes Welker is the core of the Patriots offense.
On Monday, the Patriots placed a franchise tag on the 30-year-old wide receiver, as expected. The tag guarantees him at least one more year in New England, earning about $9.4 million.
The organization released this statement earlier:
"Wes Welker is a remarkable football player for our team and has been a vital component to our offense and special teams since we traded for him in 2007. Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal. Wes remains a contractual priority and we are hopeful that he will remain a Patriot for years to come."
The Pats and Welker now have more time to agree on a deal by July, as was the case with Vince Wilfork (2010) and Logan Mankins (2011), the last two players who were franchise tagged then signed by the Patriots.
Since Welker was acquired by New England in 2007, he has caught 554 passes for 6,105 yards and 31 touchdowns. Welker -- who is entering his sixth season as a Patriot -- is 262-yards shy of passing Troy Brown -- who played 15 seasons in New England -- as the second all-time leader in receiving yards for the franchise. Hall of Fame WR Stanley Morgan leads that category with 10,352 yards throughout his 13 seasons with New England.
And the stats continue.
Welker is also just four receptions shy of passing Brown as the all-time leading Patriot in receptions. Last year marked his fourth season with at least 100 receptions, tying Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice as the only other wide receivers to do so. Welker also joined Cris Carter as the only wide receivers to have two 120-plus receptions seasons.
Some are saying that placing the franchise tag on Welker wasn't the correct move, but those are probably the same people that are still bitter about the results of the Super Bowl. For Welker to even be mentioned with all these great wide receivers – especially within the franchise – truly proves his value to team and league.
If you need any reminder of why Pats fans love Welker, here it is:
And just to think, the Patriots only gave up their second and seventh round draft picks in 2007 for him.
In 2004 after releasing Wes Welker, former Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer called it "the biggest roster mistake [he] has ever made." Well, Marty, I'm sure all of New England is now thanking you for that mistake.
And now, the wait begins.
Here's the final list of the 21 players who were franchised tagged by Monday's deadline:
QB: Drew Brees (Saints)
RB: Ray Rice (Ravens), Matt Forte (Bears)
WR: Dwayne Bowe (Chiefs), Wes Welker (Patriots), DeSean Jackson (Eagles)
TE: Fred Davis (Redskins)
DE: Cliff Avril (Lions), Robert Mathis (Colts), Calais Campbell (Cardinals)
LB: Anthony Spencer (Cowboys)
CB: Brent Grimes (Falcons)
S: Dashon Goldson (49ers), Michael Griffin (Titans), Tyvon Branch (Raiders)
P: Steve Weatherford (Giants)
K: Mike Nugent (Bengals), Phil Dawson (Browns), Matt Prater (Broncos), Josh Scobee (Jaguars), Connor Bath (Buccaneers)