Still all quiet on the Welker franchise front

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Still all quiet on the Welker franchise front

Big plans for this weekend? Maybe going to the Cape. Maybe mowing the lawn, painting the deck. Sweating out the NFL franchise deadline, perhaps.

Wes Welker and the Patriots have until 4 p.m. Monday before a contract decision must be made.

And it sounds like this one will come down to the wire.

According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, zero progress has been made on settling Welker's future in New England.

"A source with knowledge of the Patriots' talks with receiver Wes Welker put it at "5050" whether they can reach a deal," La Canfora wrote Thursday night. "They still have a pretty significant gap in terms of guaranteed money to bridge."

The report is, essentially, no different from the "complete and utter limbo" Tom Curran described to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio on Monday.

But be clear on one point while waiting:

"Welker's not concerned about contract length -- he's concerned about value," Curran told Florio. "He basically wants to be paid the franchise tag for two season and just have the guarantee that if he blows himself up in 2012, he'll have that money in 2013.

"So, it's not a three-year deal he's looking for, it's not a five-year deal he's looking for; he just wants to get two years with an option for a third and get around 21 million dollars -- 9.5 this year, 11.6 next year."

Florio agreed, saying it makes fiscal sense for the Patriots if Welker takes the tag price now. If he has another great year in 2012, then he can get receiver tag again next season. That way the Patriots are protected from injury or decline in performance.

We'll find out soon enough if the team is willing to sacrifice that self-preservation in favor of 'doing right' by Welker -- a guy who has 554 receptions for 6,105 yards and 31 touchdowns in five years of service. And all for just 18 million.

Tick-tock.

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

For weeks the speculation regarding Josh McDaniels wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."

But while national media had McDaniels signed, sealed and delivered to multiple landing spots, the proposition that he'd leave at all was never a likelihood. 

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The Rams weren't attractive to him from the outset. Jacksonville didn't excite him, either. And on Monday, he passed on the 49ers opportunity. 

The lure of a blank slate in San Fran at quarterback and GM didn't outpace the uncertainty of going cross-country to work for a seemingly dysfunctional franchise that's cycled rapidly through coaches and has an unrealistic sense that it's a long, long way removed from its glory days, the only remnant remaining from that being perhaps the logo on the helmet. 

With four kids and a job McDaniels considers one of the 10 best on coaching -- head man or no -- he will stay on as the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

"I was really impressed with (Niners owner) Jed York and (team executive) Paraag Marathe . . . and the people that came from the 49ers organization," McDaniels said on a conference call this morning. "They did a great job with their presentation. Humbled to be included in that process. At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

The same faulty speculative reasoning that had McDaniels as good as gone from the Patriots will move on undeterred today and surmise that McDaniels is staying with the Patriots because he knows, or has been promised, that he'll receive the head coaching job when Bill Belichick steps aside. 

While the Kraft family certainly thinks highly of McDaniels and that could come to pass, anyone tapping their foot and checking their watch waiting for Belichick to step down is in for a long wait. He's showing no signs of wrapping it up and, while I haven't been told directly McDaniels isn't the automatic successor, he wouldn't be taking interviews at all if he were assured that. 

What will be interesting to see is whether interest remains high in him for other jobs or the perception that he's never going to leave means teams don't bother to ask. San Fran obviously had its heart set on McDaniels. Even though Nick Caserio passed on the chance to interview with the Niners for their open GM job, the team did talk to Louis Riddick about the spot. He and McDaniels have high regard for each other. 

Between McDaniels, Caserio and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the people closest to Belichick on the coaching flow chart all had chances to go somewhere else and all passed on the chance. It's another example of not why the Patriots are good but why they remain good. Stability. 
 

McDaniels: 'Best for my family and myself' to remain with Patriots

McDaniels: 'Best for my family and myself' to remain with Patriots

Josh McDaniels will be staying put in New England, he said on Monday, because that's what's best for him and his family at this point in time. 

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The Patriots offensive coordinator was a front-runner for the open head-coaching job in San Francisco but has removed his name from consideration.

"I was really impressed with [Niners owner and CEO] Jed York and [Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Football Operations] Praag [Marathe] and [Director of Football Administration and Analytics] Brian [Hampton] and the people that came from the 49ers organization. They did a great job with their presentation. Again, humbled to be included in that process.

"At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

Next season will be McDaniels' sixth full season back with the Patriots since returning during the playoffs of the 2011 season.

"I've always said how grateful I am to have this opportunity to work here with Mr. Kraft and his family, and coach under Bill with a lot of great guys on our staff, and to have the privilege to get to work with the players that we work with each day," McDaniels said. "It's a great opportunity. I'm very thankful to be here, and very much looking forward to this week against Pittsburgh."