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Both to Blame: Why Wes Welker Deserved a Long Term Deal

The franchise tag deadline came and went with Wes Welker and the New England Patriots being unable to come to terms on a long term contract for the 31 year-old receiver. As a result, the Patriots used the franchise tag and both parties are now unable to negotiate until the end of the 2012 season.

We shouldn't feel too sorry for Welker, under the tag he'll earn $9.5 million guaranteed this season. And if the Patriots use the tag on him again next season he'll earn $11.4 million in 2013 ($21 million total for two seasons). 

The blame is squarely on both sides. The Patriots for not locking up one of the leagues most productive receivers, and Welker for not taking into account the obvious injury risk and how it could affect future earnings.

Below we compare the production of the league's 3 highest paid wide receivers and where Wes Welker falls into the mix.

Player Base Salary Contract
Vincent Jackson $11,000,000 5yr/$55,555,555
Wes Welker $9,515,000 1yr/$9,515,000
Brandon Marshall $9,300,000 5yr/$47,300,000
Santonio Holmes $7,750,000 5yr/$45,000,000

Yards After Catch is often considered one of the best statistics for measuring wide receivers.

Best Performer: Wes Welker

Receptions show a receiver's ability to get open (and relationship with the quarterback)

 Best Performer: Wes Welker

Overall production in terms of yards is often the gold standard in fantasy football

Best Performer: Wes Welker

Total receiving yards can be skewed by injuries, so if we look at average receiving yards on a per game basis.

Best Performer: Wes Welker (Honorable Mention: Brandon Marshall)

Out of the receivers compared, surely Wes Welker has had the benefit of catching passes for one of the best quarterbacks in the game (Tom Brady). He is also 31 years old, nearing the end of his prime by NFL standards. 

You would have thought the two sides could have reached a 3 year deal averaging him around $8-9 million. It would potentially save the Patriots if he has another monster year and they use the franchise tag again ($11 million in 2013), and give Welker the security he should want...and deserve.

Let us know your take in the comments below!

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