When Wes Welker decided to sign his 9.5 million franchise tender earlier this week, many were left to ponder the same question: Why?
Welker loves football, and it would have pained him to miss next week's OTAs. But by signing his guaranteed one-year deal -- and hoping that the Patriots would eventually reward him with a long-term contract -- he relinquished almost all leverage in negotiations.
Now it appears as though the receiver is realizing how his "leap of faith" move has been received by the Patriots. He told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald that long-term contract negotiations have "gotten worse" since he signed his franchise tender.
There have been talks, but nothing thats brightened anything at all, Welker told the Herald. Its actually gotten worse.
Welker went on to say that the Patriots' offer is actually less than the two-year, 16 million fully-guaranteed contract that was offered to him during the 2011 regular season.
Welker knows he could have held out. He knows he could have tried to make the Patriots sweat. But in the end, he also knows how things work in Foxboro. He told the Herald he thinks a holdout would have done nothing in terms of forcing the franchise's hand.
I think those techniques work better with other teams. I think the best thing you can do, as far as the Patriots, is be there and let them make the decision if they want to do something longterm or not, said Welker. Obviously, I want to be there. I want to help the team win. I want a championship and all those things. Im trying to do everything to make that happen, and Ill let everything else take care of itself.
It's a credit to Welker that his attitude hasn't shifted toward disgruntled, even as contract negotiations have been thrown in reverse.
The balls in their court. I just want to play, he said. At the end of the day, if its one year, 9.5 million, its one year, 9.5 million. Im good with that.