There's no rush for New England Patriots wideout Wes Welker to sign the franchise tender he received earlier this month, but in reading the tea leaves around the league it doesn't appear likely that Welker is a strong candidate to hold out for a new contract this summer.
After speaking to a number of sources, Yahoo! Sports reported Monday there's almost a zero percent chance that Welker holds out because of the franchise tag.
Welker's agent, David Dunn, currently is in Palm Beach, Fla., for the NFL Annual Meeting along with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick. Dunn told the Boston Herald that he doesn't know if Welker will sign his franchise tag, and the newspaper reported there would be a lot of things the Patriots would have to figure out to be able to pay Welker the $10 million price tag for a franchised wideout.
In comments to the media Monday, Kraft seemed to indicate that his preferred outcome is to work out a long-term deal.
"Well, our personnel people are here," Kraft said. "Wes is, he's another special guy, sort of like BenJarvus (Green-Ellis). I'm happy he's part of our team this year, and I hope he'll be part of our team long-term. He represents everything we love."
Green-Ellis signed a three-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals last week.