FOXBOROUGH – When he signed the franchise tender from the Patriots in May, Wes Welker said he was taking a leap of faith, hoping that the team could eventually work out a long-term agreement. That deal never came to fruition, but after taking the field for the first day of training camp, Welker said he wasn't disappointed.
“Everyone tried,” Welker said. “I tried. They tried, and it just didn't work out. It's in the past, and we've moved on to this season, which we expect to be a good one. We're working towards it, and working hard to have a great season this year.”
Welker will earn $9.5 million this year and if the Patriots don't tag him at the end of the season, he will become an unrestricted free agent. He said he wasn't concerned about the possibility of being tagged again.
There were points during the negotiations, Welker said, when it looked like a deal could have been reached.
“You always kind of think it's going to happen, and I don't know, you just get excited,” he said. “But at the same time you're very fortunate the position you're in. I look forward to really playing out this year and playing some of the best ball I can play.”
He said that he didn't take the process personally, even though it followed arguably the best season of his career (122 catches, 1,569 yards).
“I understand the business side of it,” Welker said. “I'm not worried about it really. I'm excited about this year. I'm excited about what we can do as a team, and helping them go out there and win games, going out there and doing what I can to help them do it.”