We are fast approaching the deadline for when players who had the franchise tag applied to them to be able to sign a contract extension with their current team. After Monday July 16, players who were franchised can only sign a one-year contract with their club, and their contract cannot be extended until after their final game of the regular season.


July 16 is the deadline for the Pats to work out a long term deal with Wes Welker


From what I have read it is my understanding that Wes Welker said that he absolutely did not want any contract negotiations to be going on once the 2011 season began. Because of the lockout that left two very small windows of time to get a deal done: (a) from the time between the playoff loss to the Jets in January of 2011 to the start of the lockout, and (b) from the end of the lockout to the first game of the 2011 season.


In the first window there was the uncertainty of not knowing what the upcoming cap would be, and for that matter not even knowing whether or not there would even be a 2011 football season. In the second window teams had to sign free agents, sign drafted rookies, sign undrafted free agents, and for guys that were both general managers and head coaches like Bill Belichick, also conduct training camp. Before you know it it is time to make roster cuts, and now there are just a few days to the start of the regular season. Boom, the window for contract negotiations with Welker has suddenly closed.


Perhaps the Pats should have pushed harder to have those negotiations re-opened during the season. Perhaps Welker should have been less adamant about not having negotiations take place during the season, given the circumstances.


Normally I would completely agree with Welker in his desire to avoid the possibility of contract negotiations becoming a possible distraction during the season.  In retrospect however, I think he and his agent should have reconsidered this decision given the very unique circumstances that the lockout had on working out a contract extension that would have been acceptable to both parties. Their hard stance on the topic may have resulted in their painting themselves into a corner in regards to getting a long term deal done, and the peace of mind from the added financial security that it would have provided.


As far as avoiding distractions once the season kicks off goes, how many times do you think Welker will be asked about his future this season if a new deal is not worked out during this week?






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