The chance Wes Welker would refuse to sign his franchise tag and stick it to the Patriots has always seemed remote.
Tuesday at the Nike uniform unveiling in New York came an indication that that tactic isn't even on his radar.
Asked about the 9.5 million franchise tag he has yet to sign, Welker told reporters, "It will be half of what I made my whole contract this past time around. Not too bad. ...Not really. That's a lot of money, so I'm definitely kind of excited about it."
If Welker wanted to be militant, if he wanted to make the Patriots squirm some he'd skip passing camps and minicamps and training camp and gum up the works but good.
But it's pretty clear he won't do that, otherwise he wouldn't be sounding giddy about the financial windfall he's going to get.
This is not shaping up as a rancorous contract battle. Impasse is probably more accurate.
The Patriots' offer of 8 million per year over two years was rejected in the fall. The market established by free agents this season have made it apparent the going rate for a very good wide receiver is about 9.5 million.
If Welker plays for the franchise number this year and next, he'll make close to 21 million. If the Patriots want to make it simple on everyone, they'd simply sign him to a two-year, 20 million deal now and be done with it.
My feeling is that Welker would grab the pen from their hands.