Report: Welker, Pats could work out long-term deal

By Larry Hartstein | Senior Analyst
Wes Welker could be close to signing a long-term deal to stay with the Patriots. (USATSPI)

The Patriots reportedly won't franchise Wes Welker, not for $11.4 million. And most believe they won't be able to re-sign him in free agency either.

But reports suggest New England and the 31-year-old catch machine could reach a deal before Welker hits the open market.

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport and Albert Greer are hearing that Welker, 31, could receive a long-term extension, with Rapoport floating the possibility of a five-year deal at roughly $8 million annually.

Welker played under the franchise tag in 2012, earning $9.5 million.

Patriots owner Bob Kraft said shortly after the season that a deal could get done if the agents “don't mess it up” and “both sides can be intelligent.”

CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora has a hard time imagining Welker in another uniform.

Tom Brady's favorite receiver finished second in the NFL with 112 catches and eighth with 1,354 receiving yards last season. He became the first player in NFL history with five seasons of 100-plus catches.

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