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Patriots president mum on Wes Welker's future

After the two sides failed to reach a long-term contract extension in the offseason, there's a distinct possibility Wes Welker is entering his final season with the New England Patriots.

Welker is playing under a $9.5 million franchise tender this season, and there are no promises he'll be back, especially when you consider the team eventually might be forced to choose between Welker and the younger, cheaper Aaron Hernandez.

Patriots president Jonathan Kraft discussed Welker's future during a Monday spot on WBZ-FM in Boston.

"Look, on a personal level Wes Welker is right there with anybody who has played for the team since our family has owned it," Kraft said (via SportsRadioInterviews.com). "He's the ultimate professional. He's a great football player. A great person. He brings a huge amount of effort every time he steps into this building be it in March or April or be it in October or on a Sunday afternoon. Emotions have to stay out of it when you are looking at the dollars."

Kraft declined to discuss if the Patriots will use the franchise tag again next season (unlikely) and said the team doesn't regret getting a deal done before the end of Welker's last contract, as they did with tight end Rob Gronkowski.

"We have plenty of business situations where people sit down in good faith to try to get something done and people have different perceptions of the world and one side may ultimately end up right and one side probably ends up wrong, but there's a lot of respect on both side of the table," Kraft said. "Wes is here. He is a Patriot for this year. Hopefully he'll be a Patriot beyond."

The Patriots might love Welker, but their inaction tells us they're willing to move on.

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