Curran: Welker extension - or lack thereof - a minor deal

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Curran: Welker extension - or lack thereof - a minor deal

Would it be nice if, by 4 p.m. Monday, Wes Welker posted a cute little "Sticking around for the long-term, WOOT, WOOT! PatriotsNation" entry on Twitter.

Sure.

Even though Welker was nicely compensated from 2007 through 2011 (18 million), he's been a relative NFL bargain compared to his wide receiver peers. A different kind of receiver than Calvin and Andre Johnson? Yes. But while not a game-breaker on their level, he is every bit the headache for defenses that they are.

He's played hurt, absorbed absurd levels of punishment, and returned quickly from serious injury. Great guy in the locker room, trusted friend and teammate of the best player the Patriots franchise will ever have, what's not to like?

Beyond all that, the Patriots -- when guaranteeing Welker his 9.5 million salary for 2012 -- pledged to work to give Welker what he believed he deserved. A long(er) term agreement.

The day the team franchised Welker, their statement was, "Wes Welker is a remarkable football player for our team and has been a vital component to our offense and special teams since we traded for him in 2007. Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal."Wes remains a contractual priority and we are hopeful that he will remain a Patriot for years to come."The extra time the two sides bought has been wasted. Sources have told me there have been no realistic proposals that approached the money Welker was looking for (a figure north of 20 million over the next two seasons).

The Patriots floated Welker a two-year, 16 million proposal last fall and haven't moved far from that.

And unless things change drastically from where they were Sunday afternoon, there will be no deal.

Welker could have been a pain in the ass about being franchised. He could have held out into training camp. Instead, he signed early and said on Twitter "I love the game and I love my teammates! Hopefully doing the right thing gets the right results. leapoffaith"

Have the Patriots "done the right thing"? Business-wise, probably.

If Welker plays well and stays healthy this year, they can just franchise him again next year and he'll get more than 11 million and will be paid for two franchised seasons about what he's looking for now.

And the Patriots will be off the hook if his leg falls off this year or his production falls off the table. Neither scenario is likely.

In terms of employee relations, the Patriots are hard-lining another deserving player, making him sweat and causing unnecessary agitation and mistrust.

To which they would likely say, "So?" The Patriots have taken PR hits before and been harangued for being cheap by bleeding heart media and fans. And they still come out smiling and hoisting trophies.

Welker's here for 2012. What's he gonna do, drape a "Patriots Unfair to Slot Receivers" sign around his neck and picket the sidelines?

The deadline will likely come and go, we'll ask Welker at training camp if he's upset he didn't get a long-term deal, he'll say he's moving on and so will we.

Personally, I feel it's the wrong thing to do. But on the grand scale of injustice we'll see on the planet today, it's less than a speck.

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Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

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Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.