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Matt Light: Wes Welker deserves to stay with Patriots

The New England Patriots have a hard decision to make on wide receiver Wes Welker. He may be the greatest slot man of his generation and one of those that evolved the position for players like Percy Harvin, Randall Cobb and Victor Cruz. Welker is a five-time Pro Bowl receiver who has led the NFL in receptions three times and has had a minimum of 111 catches in five of the last six seasons.

Welker, though, is a 31-year old, 5-foot-9 player hoping for his last significant deal. He'll be an unrestricted free agent next month.

"If you take the heart and soul away from a team, it's not like open-heart surgery these days," former Patriots lineman Matt Light said on ComcastSportsNet's Sports Tonight. "He's a guy that you have (to) try to find a way to make him right. I think he made really good money last year, and I think you can't argue that fact. The way the league is set up right now, they're going to be able to push it to the nth degree, but at some point you have to say just do the right thing for the guy, he's been there long enough."

Welker has been with the Patriots for six years, but we know Bill Belichick doesn't give a long leash to some players. The Patriots have to plan for a future without Welker at some point, and there could be younger options (ahem, Harvin) available this offseason.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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