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Wes Welker Contract Situation: Deadline Reaches One Week To Go, A Lot Needs To Happen For Deal To Get Done

New England Patriots nation will be sitting on pins and needles this upcoming week, as the deadline for contract negotiations between wide receiver Wes Walker and the club need to be settled. If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, the Pats' will be forced to franchise tag the All-Pro wide out for about $9.5 million.

Will the two sides reach an agreement? The Boston Globes' Greg A. Bedard thinks it could take a lot:

Both sides have been respectful of each other during the process, but if you read between the lines, owner Robert Kraft has stated the club’s position. Kraft said both sides want to complete a deal, but "it requires intelligence" and "what’s going to happen in the next few years with the cap, you have to have a core group of players that you can plan around as the foundation of your team."

Bedard say the distance between the two sides is $6 million in guaranteed money, and decision is mainly on the Patriots who need to figure out if they think Welker can still be productive.

If the Patriots would be inclined to sign Welker to an estimated $11.418 million franchise tag to keep him out of a Jets uniform, then it makes no sense to have him play under the tag this season. A contract extension now could cut his cap number in half in 2012 and beyond. That savings could be used on extensions for Aaron Hernandez, Sebastian Vollmer, and/or Patrick Chung now, or rolled over onto next year’s cap.

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