Patriots, Wes Welker plan to work this week on long-term deal

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New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) practicing on Thursday, June 7, 2012. (Credit: AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Reports over the weekend were that the New England Patriots and Wes Welker are at least $6 million apart on a new contract. At that point, all signs pointed to the two sides not getting a deal done by the July 16 deadline. However, all of that may change this week.

A league source tells Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe that the two sides will be working hard this week toward getting a deal done.

One has to wonder if whether any amount of hard work is really going to bridge the $6 million gap between the two sides. Welker may be calculating that anything less than $20.933 million guaranteed in the first two years of the contract is simply not enough, considering that he will get $9.515 million guaranteed this year as the franchise player and would get at least $11.418 million if the Patriots use the franchise tag on him again next year.

In the end, the Patriots will, most likely, hope to franchise him this year and use his play as a decision for a new contract following this season. If the 31 year old receiver shows signs of decline in his play, New England may be inclined to let him test free agency. It seems that if both sides are going to agree to a long-term contract, it will be signed following this season.

So it makes sense for both sides to spend the next week looking for a long-term solution that can satisfy everyone. But they might find out after a week of hard work that there is simply no number that Welker will accept and the Patriots will pay.

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