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Report: Pats, WR Welker still in holding pattern in negotiations

On the opening day for teams to use the franchise tag on players, discussions between the New England Patriots and free-agent-to-be wideout Wes Welker reportedly remain at a standstill.

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There has yet to be a breakthrough in negotiations between the two parties for a long-term contract, a source told the Boston Herald on Monday.

League sources told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that the Patriots would not let Welker depart as a free agent.

Welker has expressed his desire to remain in New England, telling reporters, via the Herald, the week of Super Bowl XLVI that "I plan on being back so I'm not really too worried about that right now."

The 31-year-old Welker earned $2.15 million last year and caught 122 passes for 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns.

If the Patriots designate Welker as their franchise player -- they have until March 5 -- the team would have to pay him about $9.4 million next season.

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