Welker Negotiations At Standstill

The Patriots are trying to get Wes Welker under contract, but progress has been slow. Both sides apear entrenched in their respective positions despite the team's owner saying he wants Welker in New England.

   The rollercoaster negotiations between the Patriots and franchised wide receiver Wes Welker continue.

   New England announced May 21 that Welker had signed his $9.5 million franchise tender, a week after the receiver himself made such an announcement on his Twitter account proclaiming it a, "#leapoffaith."

   A couple days after signing his franchise tender, Welker then told the Boston Herald that negotiations were no closer to a long-term deal. In fact he said they had, "gotten worse." The Herald reported that things had actually gone backward from the two-year, $16 million fully guaranteed deal that the team reportedly offered Welker during last season.

   But much like things have changed from Welker's viewpoint so many times in his effort to get the long-term deal he so desperately desires, the dynamic slot receiver backed off the "gotten worse" comments a few days after he issued them.

   Speaking at his own youth football camp in the greater Boston area, Welker backtracked a bit and returned to his previous stance that he's comfortable playing under the franchise tender for 2012.

   Welker said that he was "completely happy with (being franchised) and completely OK with it. I look forward to contributing to the team.

   "I'm not frustrated whatsoever. I know the words that came out probably seemed that way but I'm not frustrated at all. I'm making five times what I did last year so there's no frustration here. I'm totally content with everything,"

   He also indicated that his saying that the negotiations had "gotten worse" was a "bad choice of words. They've stayed the same."

   Later this past week Patriots owner Robert Kraft voiced his opinion on the ongoing negotiations in a pair of interviews at the NFL meetings.

   "We'd like him to be a Patriot for life," Kraft told ESPN in Atlanta. "To do that requires both sides to bend and do what they have to do. We understand the cap and how much room we have there and how we value the position. He has people representing him that want to get the last dollar. I would love him to finish his career with us, but it takes two sides to get that done."

   Kraft continued with that two-to-Tango line of thinking in comments to NFL Network.

   "Well we'd like to see him be a Patriot for life but it takes two sides," Kraft told NFLN. "We're just happy he's back in the system. He's a wonderful young man, and a special guy. I think both sides would like to do a deal, but it requires intelligence and putting our team first."

   So while plenty has been said and a number of things have happened in the Welker negotiations in the past couple weeks, things don't appear to have changed all that much.

   Welker says he wants to be a Patriot for the long haul. The Patriots say they want him to be a member of the team "for life."

   But talk can be cheap, while NFL contracts aren't. And despite all the rhetoric it doesn't appear that Welker is any closer to the lucrative, long-term deal he is looking for in New England.

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