|There's reportedly been 'no meaningful progress' between Welker and the Pats. (US Presswire)|
Wes Welker signed his franchise tender. He showed up to Patriots minicamps. He even said nice things when younger teammates got new contracts. But he and New England are apparently no closer towards working out a new deal than they were when Welker signed the tender.
According to James Walker of ESPN, there has been "no meaningful progress" on a new deal between Welker and the Pats. Handling Welker's situation now that Rob Gronkowski is extended could make sense, but Walker cites a source who says "that hasn't been the case."
The current deadline for a long-term deal between Welker and the Patriots is July 16. We've previously noted (and it's patently obvious) that the Patriots hold all of leverage in this situation. Welker signed his tender, locked himself in for $9.5 million and took a leap of faith that the Patriots would reward his ridiculous production over the past five years.
They might still do that. But more than likely, they're going to offer him a low-ball-ish offer once the deadline for that long-term deal starts drawing near and hope that Welker's willing to sacrifice a monster payday in exchange for more long-term security.
Of course, it's hard to blame the Pats for doing this. They love the production of Welker in their system, but he's older now, he's dealt with injuries and he's often stereotyped as a specific type of player.
Slot receivers with good hands and quick-cutting ability are great to have, but Welker's not Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald, even if his production matches theirs. And the Patriots, apparently, will keep approaching contract negotiations that way.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.