|Will Wes Welker be a Patriot next season? Owner Robert Kraft hopes so. (US Presswire)|
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker is due to become a free agent this offseason, but team owner Robert Kraft said Friday that he intends to keep the diminutive receiver -- and one of Tom Brady's all-time favorite targets -- as a Patriot.
"I'd love him to be around," Kraft said Friday, according to the Boston Herald. "He's a great guy. Like I've said all along, it takes two sides to make a transaction. We have to manage the lawyers and the agents that they don't mess it up. I think Wes wants to be with us, and we want him here. It's just a matter of whether both sides can be intelligent."
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Welker has led the team in receiving each year since 2008, racking up more than 1,300 yards in 2012. Currently the team's franchise player, Welker earned $9.5 million in '12. If he were to be franchised again next season, the Patriots would owe the 31-year-old receiver $11.4 million, probably a price they'd be unwilling to pay.
The most likely scenario, given Welker's pedigree and value on the free agent market, is that the two sides meet somewhere in the middle.
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