The Patriots are expected to place the franchise tag on Welker, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The one-year tag would be worth $9.5 million, but the move would give New England more flexibility to work out a long-term deal with the wide receiver before next season. The 30-year-old is currently slated to become an unrestricted free agent next month.
If Welker and the Patriots are unable to work out a long-term contract before the start of the season, the team would at least ensure it had Welker locked up for the season by utilizing the franchise tag.
Welker caught 122 passes for 1569 yards and nine touchdowns last season, and he has led the NFL in receptions three times during his five seasons with New England.