By Eric Schmidt

According to a report by the Boston Herald over the weekend, the New England Patriots are unlikely to place the franchise tag on veteran wide receiver Wes Welker once again this year. Welker, 31 wanted a long-term deal with the Patriots last season but the team used the franchise tag instead on the 31-year old receiver, a move that earned him $9.515 million last season.

If New England wanted to tag him again this season, the move would cost the team over $11 million dollars. Welker turned down a completely guaranteed two-year contract worth $16 million.

While you might think that his services are invaluable to the Patriots, think again. Yes, he has been a highly productive player during his time with the Patriots, but this has been a team which has never been held hostage by one player and has demonstrated that they are ready to move on from any player at virtually any time other than QB Tom Brady.

There is always the chance that New England could offer up the two year deal to Welker once again, and if he wants to remain with New England, he’d better jump on the offer, even if this deal doesn’t come with the guaranteed money. If he wants to shop his services around via free agency, he might find another team that offers up something longer than a two-year deal.

It would be difficult to imagine the Patriots and Brady playing on Sunday’s without the quarterback’s favorite receiver on the field. But the Patriots believe nearly everyone is replaceable and Welker should have realized that by now.

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