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Patriots likely will pay dearly for hanging back on Welker

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker is having the type of season typically reserved for the "beginner" level of "Madden" video games. For a player who wasn't even drafted out of college, his production is almost mind-boggling.

Welker, now in the final year of a contract in which he's scheduled to make $2.15 million in base salary, was asked Wednesday if he'd like to stay in New England.

"Well, of course I want to stay here, but as of right now, I don't really think about it," Welker said, according to The Boston Globe. "I just try to focus on this year and everything I can do to help the team this year."

Welker enters Week 6's matchup against the Dallas Cowboys with 45 catches for 740 yards and five touchdowns, numbers he freely acknowledges wouldn't be possible without quarterback Tom Brady.

"No. There's no question," Welker said. "There's no way I would. I think in my time in Miami I went through four or five quarterbacks and didn't play as much. Being here, with Tom, in this offense, I am not going to sit here and say I'd have the same numbers. No way."

Considering all that Welker has accomplished in New England, it's surprising the Patriots have let him even reach the walk year of his contract. Trepidation was understandable a season ago when the receiver was coming off a serious knee injury, but Welker proved in 2010 that he was still a Pro Bowl-level player. Welker's explosive start in 2011 has sent his stock through the roof.

Barring a serious hometown discount, the Patriots' decision to wait will be an extremely expensive one.

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