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Free agent wide receiver Wes Welker will field offers on the open market before he decides to re-sign with the New England Patriots, ESPN reports.The Patriots were trying to sign him before free agency opens next Tuesday.
But after they chose not to use the franchise tag on him (which would have automatically kept him in New England for 2013 at $11.4 million), there’s really no reason for Welker not to test the market.
Theoretically, this doesn’t change the likelihood that Welker returns to the Pats. Now that Tom Brady restructured his deal, New England has the cap room to bring Welker back regardless of what other teams offer.
But there was a report yesterday that Welker was “a little paranoid” about his role in the offence — the first sign of a rift between him and the team.
And at age 31 the Patriots might be leery to sign him for a lucrative long-term deal, especially if other teams drive up the total salary, guaranteed money, etc.
We’ll see what happens next week, but agency just got more interesting.
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