Welker Signs Franchise Tag

New England Patriots All-Pro wide receiver Wes Welker has signed his franchise tender according to a team official.

New England Patriots' Wes Welker poses for pictures in his new uniform in New York, Tuesday, April 3, 2012. The NFL and Nike showed off the new gear in grand style with a gridiron-themed fashion show at a Brooklyn film studio.

The Patriots gave Welker the franchise tag back on March 5th as one of 21 teams to select a franchise player.

By signing the tender Welker is guaranteed to make $9.51 million dollars for the 2012 season.  He and the team still have until July 14 to reach a longterm agreement and drop the franchise tender.

If no agreement on a new contract is reached prior to July 14, Welker will play this season on the one-year guaranteed deal.

By signing his tender it allows him to participate in the OTA’s and training camp instead of being on the outside looking in.

It was anticipated all along that Welker would not hold out of camp looking for a comtract and he hinted earlier Tuesday morning during a WEEI interview that he wouldn’t miss any of the season.

Welker, whose on the verge of becoming the most prolific pass receiver in Patriots history, has said New England is the place he wants to be.   He is just four catches shy of breaking the team record for most catches by a wide receiver which is currently held by Troy Brown who had 577.

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photo credit: AP Photo