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Wes Welker waits for New England Patriots' first offer

Wes Welker is hoping to receive an official contract offer from the New England Patriots before free agency starts Tuesday. If it happens, it will be the first offer the Patriots have sent Welker during months of negotiations.

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NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that the Patriots haven't extended an official offer to Welker during all of their conversations, according to a source. That's a surprise, but perhaps it shouldn't be.

Teams are wary of getting official offers shopped around at this time of year. It's hard to believe Welker's agents don't know the rough ballpark of where negotiations stand, and whether or not the Patriots are willing to pay enough to keep Welker off the market.

Still, it's telling that there remains such unease between Welker and the Patriots so close to free agency. The Patriots sure sound confident in letting Welker shop his goods around the league. Either that or the Patriots are preparing to make that first offer in the next few hours.

UPDATE:Rapoport reported Tuesday that at this point, talks between the Patriots and Welker have broken down and no further talks are scheduled. Rapoport added that Welker is set to test free agency.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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