The Patriots failed to reach a long-term contract with receiver Wes Welker by Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline. Welker, tagged as the team’s franchise player in February, now will play under a $9.5 million one-year contract during the 2012 season.
Welker signed his one-year franchise tender in May and said at the time he hoped it would lead to the team extending him on a long-term deal. But NFL rules prohibit franchise players from negotiating for a long-term deal after Monday’s deadline.
The sides’ next opportunity to discuss a deal would be after the season.
Welker, 31, caught 122 passes last year and has caught an NFL-high 554 passes since joining the Patriots in 2007.
The lack of a long-term deal could put Welker and the Patriots on course to clash again next offseason, when the team could apply the franchise tag to him again and limit his right to reach unrestricted free agency.