Patriots apply franchise tag to WR Welker

The New England Patriots have used their franchise tag on WR Wes Welker, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The team later confirmed the move in a release.

“Wes Welker is a remarkable football player for our team and has been a vital component to our offense and special teams since we traded for him in 2007,” the Patriots’ statement read. “Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal. Wes remains a contractual priority and we are hopeful that he will remain a Patriot for years to come.”

Discussions between the Patriots and Welker on a long-term contract stalled in late February, a source told the Boston Herald.

The tag guarantees Welker a one-year deal worth about $9.4 million. Welker made $2.15 million last season.

Welker caught 122 passes for 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89

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