With the 4 pm deadline just a few hours away, it doesn’t appear the New England Patriots and Wes Welker will agree on a long-term deal.

That means Welker will play the 2012 season under the franchise tag. Would that be a good move by the Patriots, or would it be smarter to lock him up long-term now?

Gresh and Zolak have very different trains of thought on this one.

“I don’t think one will get done, but it should get done,” said Zolak. “I don’t want to see this guy hit free agency next year. I think it’s risky; I think it’s very risky.”

“That is where you and I part ways. I think the Patriots are playing this perfectly,” said Gresh. “Let him play it year-to-year. I don’t see the need to invest in this guys at that dollar amount with all of the weapons you now have.”

“If it gets done, it’s because Wes Welker settled to be able to get it done, not because he held true to this is the number and you guys have to meet it,” added Gresh.

Gresh also doesn’t think the Patriots will franchise Welker again next season.

“They’re not going to tag Wes again next year, so are you saying this is it?” asked Zo.

“If Welker hits big numbers with Brandon Lloyd, with Gronk, with Jabar Gaffney back — the monetary number still goes down?” asked Zo.

“The bar has been set too high for him and the Patriots organization are going to flip it around and will use that against him,” said Gresh. “This is what we’ve seen from the organization for years. When Richard Seymour was looking to get paid, it was ‘well Richard you don’t get a lot of sacks.’ The team isn’t designed for Seymour to get a lot of sacks, and they knew that.”

“If (Welker) catches 85 and they’re as successful, you can knock down the individual value of that player,” said Gresh. “Say he has a really good year; 85 catches, 1,150 yards and six touchdowns. I’m going to say you know what Wes, we’d like to keep you. We’re not going to franchise you, but we’re going to offer you a two-year at $17.5 million with half guarenteed.”

“He’s not going to accept that,” said Zo. “He’ll go elsewhere.”

“If Wes Welker doesn’t put up ridiculous numbers, the ball is in the Patriots court,” said Gresh.


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