For the first time Tuesday, Welker actually admitted there's a realistic possibility that he won't report to the team's mandatory minicamp from June 12-14, according to ESPN Boston Radio. Welker said he hasn't completely made up his mind on the matter, and he also acknowledged he could still show up to the minicamp without a long-term contract in place. It wouldn't technically be considered a holdout because Welker hasn't signed his franchise tender, which means he's not under contract and obligated to attend, but it would still serve as a harsh shot from Welker's camp.
Welker spent last offseason working out with the motivation of bouncing back from a knee injury to show his worth as the best slot receiver in the game, and he did that with a contract extension at the fore of his mind. So, after having a career year, he's been rattled due to the absence of that contract.
The startling thing is Welker said he hasn't talked to the Patriots about a contract extension since they placed the franchise tag on him March 5, when the team said "the goal" was to reach a long-term deal. Now, exactly 50 days after he was tagged, Welker broke from character to gain some leverage, which is still in the Patriots' control.
Throughout the process, even dating to last season, sources have told NESN.com that Welker wasn't expected to hold out (the point remains even though, as mentioned before, this wouldn't be considered a holdout by definition) because he's too much of a team guy.
While that's still true, he's got to find leverage somewhere, and he's got to gain their attention somehow. The Patriots have done the majority of their offseason spending, so the franchise number of roughly $9.5 million is affordable at this point. Because Welker takes so many hits over the middle of the field, the Patriots might prefer to let him play out the year before revisiting a longer deal in 2013, when Welker's franchise number would be less friendly at a minimum of $11.4 million (120 percent of $9.5 million).
Welker can see the signs pointing in that type of direction, and he wants what he deserves. He probably wouldn't even hold them hostage to try taking advantage of the wildly irresponsible money that was thrown at receivers this offseason. More than anything, Welker's comments made it sound like he just wants some progress after more than seven weeks without anything.
Because of that, Welker sounds peeved enough to break from character, and he deserves to feel that way.