The clock is ticking on Wes Welker and the Patriots.
July 15 is the deadline for the two sides to come together and come to a long-term deal. After that, if an extension has not been reached, Welker will play under the franchise tag during the 2012 season.
There may be hope for Welker, though, even despite the fact that time is getting short. According to a Boston Globe report, both sides will be "working hard" to get a deal done this week. The Globe had reported over the weekend that the two sides were about 6 million apart in guaranteed money. But now the biggest hang-up in coming to an agreement appears to be Welker's insistence on getting a third year in his new deal.
However, its fair to ask whether any amount of hard work is really going to bridge the 6 million gap between the two sides. Welker may be calculating that anything less than 20.933 million guaranteed in the first two years of the contract is simply not enough, considering that hell get 9.515 million guaranteed this year as the franchise player and would get at least 11.418 million if the Patriots use the franchise tag on him again next year. But the Patriots may have decided that theyre not going to guarantee him that much because they dont know for sure if theyll franchise him again next year if Welker gets hurt this season or starts to show signs that hes on the decline at age 31, the Patriots could decide to let him test free agency.
Should be interesting to see if there's a number -- of both dollars and years -- that both sides can agree to before next week.