Jan 20, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and wide receiver Wes Welker (83) react after a fourth down incompletion in the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots play hard ball, will not tag Welker


As expected, the New England Patriots will no be extending their Franchise tag on Wide Receiver Wes Welker, according to a source with “intimate knowledge of the team’s thinking”.

Intimate knowledge of the team’s thinking?

This is gamesmanship on the part of Kraft and Belichick.  Nothing gets out of those offices without express permission of the head honchos – and this was leaked with the sole purpose of sending a very detailed yet black and white message to Welker and his agent:

We are prepared to go on without you, and can do so with the same amount of success that we enjoyed with your participation, and you know it.

No?  Welker almost tripped over his agent to get to his Franchise tag last season because he knew it was the best deal going – and he also knows that the 11.4 million dollars he would acquire on the tag this season is far more than he would get elsewhere.

And there the hurt feelings all around, too.  Welker thinks he’s undervalued while Kraft thinks Welker and his agent took tried to hold the team hostage last season with their contractual demands.  Belichick just wants to dominate the football world, and he can’t put his grand scheme into motion with the ambiguity surrounding Welker’s status.

There are too many issues to address to wait around on Welker and his agent’s feet dragging style – so many issues in fact that the team needs some clarity with Welker, and since that wasn’t on the horizon any time soon, the Patriots made the decision for him.

Welker’s Gone.  Had he played ball and signed what the Patriots were offering him, he’s be in line for an option year and making far more than he would have with last year’s tag.

And while it’s true that Welker outperformed his contract that he initially signed with New England, it is equally true that he agreed to it and signed it.  Kraft is no schmuck.  He pays people on potential, not past performance. and when you combine that with age and those two haunting dropped balls…well, ultimate dependability questions arise.

Could he be back though?  It’s possible, but he and the agent would have to do a 180 and completely cave in to New England’s offer – and when is the last time an agent rolled over for the Patriots?

So, Belichick has some clarity…might make everyone’s mock draft a little easier…

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