Wes Welker signed a franchise tender Tuesday that guarantees he will keep him in New England at least for the 2012 NFL season. But in a tweet following the signing, Welker acknowledged that the ball is now in the Patriots' court.
"I think in essence the Patriots understood, and he understands, he can't really live without football. He's an addict, he needs football, and he understands the 9.5 (million dollars) is about half of what he made over the length of (his previous) contract," said CSNNE analyst Tom E. Curran. "He gave up the leverage, but that tweet made a nice passive-aggressive stand that says, 'Look, I'm doing it. Meet me halfway here, Patriots. Meet me halfway here, Kraft. Put your money where your mouth is. You said you were going to renegotiate and do the right thing. Let's see if you do.'"
Could the Patriots find a replacement for Welker if they don't lock him up with a long-term contract?
"Going into last year, I thought someone could replicate but not duplicate what Wes Welker did. And then he came out and he was the best receiver in the National Football League for the first half of the season, hands down -- outside, inside, whatever, hands down the most productive guy. And I actually went up to him and I said, 'I got it wrong. Nobody can do what you exactly can do. Nobody in the NFL can do it, certainly nobody on the Patriots can do it,'" said Curran. "I don't know if he was at the height of his powers last year and he can come back and be as good as he was last year for that eight- to 10-game stretch. But no, I haven't seen anybody play that position as well as him."
For more of Curran's comments on the Welker signing, view the video below: