Welker: 9.5 Millions Reasons Why...

Wes Welker

Patriots WR Wes Welker has not signed his tender, nor will he until the two sides are closer to a long term deal. It just doesn't make sense -- business sense -- for Welker to sign and have to report to camp. As he said Monday, he has 9.5 million reasons why he WILL sign in time for the regular season.

Wes Welker said he wants to be at the Patriots' mandatory minicamp June 12-14, but his status as an unsigned franchise player could still prevent it.
Welker, designated the Patriots franchise player and guaranteed $9.5 million for 2012 if he signs the tender, said on WEEI Radio in Boston that he's anxious to work out a long-term deal with New England.

"I think we're all on the same page and we're all trying to collectively come together and make something happen," Welker said.

The most important date on the offseason calendar for Welker, the mandatory minicamp is typically a series of full-squad workouts and team-building sessions that include installation of offensive and defensive plays and personnel groups. There's also a wealth of individual and position group work.

But Welker wouldn't be the first franchise designated player to skip the workout and incur the fine permitted by league rules for player absences. Often, those fines can be erased as part of negotiations to end a holdout or toward a long-term extension.

The top two receivers in the NFL in terms of salary are Calvin Johnson (Lions) and Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals). While Welker is the favorite target of quarterback Tom Brady, he's not considered a once-a-decade type of talent as Johnson and Fitzgerald are and might not be paid in the same $120-million plus bracket because of it.

This despite posting four seasons with at least 110 catches in five years with the Patriots. The only year he came up short -- 2010 -- he had 86 receptions in 11 starts. Welker turned 31 on May 1.

"The main thing is really just trying to keep a level head about it, and make sure you're making the best decisions for yourself, but at the same time, put yourself in a position where you can play for a great team and hopefully do some great things in the future," he said. "... I don't think there are any sort of hard feelings on my side or their side. I think we're all looking forward to the 2012 season and hopefully do some big things there."

His attendance at minicamp will be followed, but Welker dismissed the idea that he'd skip a regular-season game to stump for a new contract.
"There are 9.5 million reasons why I wouldn't miss any regular-season games," he said.

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