Over the years, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have made a habit of ridding themselves of All-Pro aging vets. And for the beginning part of last season, it seemed as if that was going to be the direction that the Patriots were going to take with Welker. But, as the season progressed, and Welker continued to do Welker-type things, it became clear that letting the League’s best slot receiver walk for nothing would be a mistake. New England now seems to agree. From NFL.com:
Welker could very well still be in the plans of the New England Patriots. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport wrote Monday that both he and Albert Breer have heard Welker could still receive a long-term extension before free agency. This makes sense. Welker, 31, puts up big numbers every year, is a good presence in the locker room, and possesses a skill-set that should allow him to play a high level through his mid-30s. We tend to overlook just how incredibly productive Welker has been since joining the Patriots in 2007. In that stretch — which includes a offseason recovery from a blown ACL in 2010 — Welker hasaveraged 112 catches per season. He’s a first-down machine. Rapoport examined the market and speculated Welker could be in line for a five-year deal at roughly $8 million per.