Patriots Officially Place Franchise Tag on Wes Welker, Team Still Sees New Contract as Goal

Wes Welker isn't leaving New England — at least not for another year.

The Patriots have placed the franchise tag on the Pro Bowl wide receiver, which means Welker will make in the neighborhood of $9.5 million next season.

Welker has established himself as one of Tom Brady's favorite receivers over his five-year tenure with the Patriots, averaging just under 91 receptions per season.

The Patriots released a statement about the move Monday afternoon shortly before the 4 p.m. deadline for applying the franchise tag.

"Wes Welker is a remarkable football player for our team and has been a vital component to our offense and special teams since we traded for him in 2007," the team said in the statement. "Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal. Wes remains a contractual priority and we are hopeful that he will remain a Patriot for years to come."

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