How WR signings impact Wes Welker

March, 14, 2012
3/14/12
5:00
PM ET
A potential Wes Welker contract extension just became a lot harder for the New England Patriots. The reigning AFC champs can thank receivers like Vincent Jackson and Pierre Garcon for that.

Jackson and Garcon were signed to contracts worth nearly $100 million combined on the first day of NFL free agency. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave Jackson $55 million over five years and Garcon was paid $42.5 million over the same time frame. Most would argue Welker is as good, or better, than those two. Welker's production certainly is much better.

Jackson will average about $11 million per season. Welker's current tag is about $9.4 million. It's doubtful the Patriots would give Welker a contract similar to Jackson's in length and average salary.

But a new offseason market is set for quality receivers thanks to Jackson, and to a lesser degree, Garcon. Welker, who caught 122 passes for 1,569 yards last season, can make a strong case that he deserves a similar average salary. But the Patriots don't seem interested.

Expect the franchise tag to hold in New England for now.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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