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Report: Talks between Wes Welker and Patriots 'nonexistent'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Sounds like Welker's playing 2012 under the franchise tag. (US Presswire)

Over the weekend, there was some good news for franchise-tagged players -- the Raiders gave safety Tyvon Branch a new four-year deal (as first reported by CBSSports.com's Jason LaCanfora) and it was reported that the Bears and Matt Forte are "extremely close" to a new deal. No such luck for Wes Welker, however.

The Patriots and their top wideout aren't talking, according to CSNNE's Tom Curran.

"Talks remain stagnant, and by stagnant I mean non-existent," Curran said on Sunday.

Curran also noted that it "would be an upset" if the Patriots and Welker were able to pull off a deal by the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Monday afternoon.

It was reported last week that the Pats and Welker were about $6 million in guaranteed money apart for a longer contract. The Pats would like to get a deal done with Welker -- on team-friendly terms, of course -- because it keeps him in the fold longer (maybe one more year?) and it reduces the salary-cap burden of the franchise tag.

Welker wants a deal done for long-term security, but it's highly unlikely that he'll sign a two-year deal for $15 million right now when he's already guaranteed more than $9 million this season alone, with a shot at free agency and/or a second franchise tag -- worth 120 percent of his previous salary -- after that.

This offseason has to have been tiring for Welker in terms of contract talks (and that doesn't even take into account that he got married a few weeks ago in Aspen). He quickly signed his franchise tender this offseason, and though he pointed out that negotiations had "actually gotten worse," Welker quickly backtracked on those comments. Welker even said he was excited for Rob Gronkowski when the tight end inked a new multi-year contract.

Based on the way talks seem to have gone (or not gone) recently, it doesn't look like Welker's going to find any contract security until at least the end of the 2012 regular season.

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.

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