The New England Patriots and Wes Welker have ended their contract stalemate, at least for this season.
According to multiple reports, the Pro Bowl wide receiver signed the franchise tender Tuesday that will pay him $9.5 million for the 2012 season. He and the team still have until July 16 to work out a long-term deal, or else Welker will play under the franchise tender for the remainder of the season.
After Welker caught 122 passes for 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns, the Patriots labeled him with the franchise tag.
A number of contract discussions followed, and Welker considered missing the team's mini-camp in June. But even before signing on Tuesday, he told WEEI the contract differences would not be an issue.
Added Welker: "We're just kind of moving along. I have a great relationship with coach [Bill Belichick] and Mr. Kraft and with the front office and everybody else. I don't think there's 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."
Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe first reported the Welker signing.