The clock is ticking on Wes Welker signing a new contract with the Patriots.
Both sides have shown interest in making Welker a Patriot for life, and Welker has made assurances that he will not miss a game this season, having accepted the team's $9.5 million franchise tag.
But that doesn't mean the wide receiver who has been so pivotal to New England's success over the past few years isn't pressing to get a deal in place before Monday, the deadline for movement on franchised players.
Welker and the Patriots are now getting close to a contract, with the main sticking point a third year on the deal, Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe reports.
The Patriots offered Welker $16 million over two years late last season to no avail. Welker is reportedly asking for a third year and more guaranteed cash, as the franchise tag — the average of the salaries of the top-paid players at his position — would yield around $21 million over the same time.
Welker will make $9.5 million this season under the franchise tag unless he and the Patriots can work out a deal where both sides agree on the guaranteed money and length of the contract by Monday, the league deadline for new contracts with franchised players.
The Patriots made a move to keep tight end Rob Gronkowski last month, signing the third-year player for nine years and $54 million. Welker was supportive of his teammate but said he still hoped he and the team could work out an agreement of their own.
A Patriot for five seasons, Welker, 31, has set the new benchmark for receptions in a season, reeling in more than 100 catches four times. Last year, he had 122 catches for 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns and was a pivotal part of New England's offense as the Patriots went to the Super Bowl for the second time in Welker's tenure with the team. While Welker's dropped pass in the Super Bowl has received plenty of attention in the offseason, most would agree that the Patriots' offense runs best through the Tom Brady-Welker tandem.