|CAREER STATS WITH NEW ENGLAND|
Since joining the Patriots in 2007:
- More Catches than any other NFL player
- Top 5 in Yardage
- Reached 500 receptions in 70 games, an NFL record
- Has caught a pass in every game as a Patriot
- All-Time Franchise leader in receptions
Wes Welker and the Patriots are closing in on a multi-year contract that would allow Welker to remain in New England. An NFL source says that the two sides are hoping to have something finalized before the onset of free agency on March 12.
According to the source, the two sides have come to the understanding that they are far better with one another than without.
Unlike last year when Welker took what he called a "leap of faith" by accepting the team's franchise tender in the hopes that a long term deal would be worked out, this time the two sides are -- according to the source -- far more willing to compromise than at the same point last year.
Despite having more receptions than any receiver since 2007, Welker began last season behind Julian Edelman on the depth chart and did not begin seeing regular action until after tight end Aaron Hernandez went down in Week 2 with an ankle injury.
Welker being labeled as a "slot" receiver by some in the organization created some rancor between the two sides. After making 13 catches in a win over the Broncos last season, Welker told Mike Felger, Ty Law and Troy Brown that it was nice to "stick it in Bill's face once in a while."
Welker is still wary of the situation and how he may be used going forward, but long-term security far outweighs any lingering animosity towards the team.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story speculatively stated a new deal would allow Welker to finish his career with the Patriots. We regret the error.