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Patriots, Wes Welker reportedly in standstill

The New England Patriots are no closer to a long-term deal with Wes Welker.

There has been no movement between the sides, Comcast SportsNet New England reported Wednesday, and Welker has yet to ink the franchise tender the Patriots slapped on the receiver March 6.

Welker is set to earn $9.5 million this season via the franchise tag (a solid paycheck for a man nobody drafted in 2004), but unless he agrees to it, one of football's most productive wideouts won't be able to participate in offseason workouts and minicamps with teammates.

We don't envision a major standoff here.

While the Patriots have shown zero urgency, it's April. The 31-year-old told NFL Network on Wednesday that he hopes to stay with the team long term.

In March, the organization stated: "Wes remains a contractual priority, and we are hopeful that he will remain a Patriot for years to come."

"Years to come" might mean a three-year deal, maybe four, but after averaging 111 catches and 1,221 yards per season during his five years with the team, Welker shows no signs of slowing down. It's hard to imagine a scenario in which Tom Brady isn't completing seven-plus passes a game to this gentleman.

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