- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Some viewpoints from around the Web on Wes Welker, the franchise tag, and the possibility of a long-term extension:
1. Welker & the Bucs? Peter King writes on Welker in "Monday Morning Quarterback" on SI.com and opines that Welker is the type of target the Buccaneers need. "I don't expect Wes Welker to leave New England, but if he does, that'll add to the free-agent mayhem," King writes. "Having said that about Welker, if I'm Bucs GM Mark Dominik, Welker agent David Dunn is my first phone call out of the box on March 13. Welker's just what Josh Freeman needs. But I wouldn't be surprised if the Bucs and Chiefs each steer clear of Welker. Something Bill Parcells passed down to Bill Belichick about steering clear of each other's free agents; Parcells needed a kicker in Dallas when Adam Vinatieri was free, but he wouldn't touch him. I'm not sure about it, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Scott Pioli and Belichick disciple Greg Schiano take a hands-off approach with Welker."
2. Expect a 2- to 3-year deal. Jason La Canfora of NFL Network predicts a short-term deal for Welker. "Wes Welker will eventually sign a two- or three-year deal, but in the meantime he will get franchised," he writes. "The Patriots will not let him walk, league sources said, and the already highly driven Welker will be more motivated than ever coming off his Super Bowl drop. Tom Brady wants Welker around for a long time, and he likely will be in New England until his career ends."
3. Not so certain on franchise tag. Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald views the situation differently. "I can no longer assume the Pats will definitely tag him, as there are pluses and minuses for both sides for giving him a one-year, $9.6 million contract," he writes.
4. Predicting a deal gets done. Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post, in a piece now posted on SI.com, forecasts a deal getting done at some point. "My sense is Welker will return to the Patriots, whether via a long-term deal or the Tag. Bill Belichick had long coveted Welker when he played for Miami and the Patriots will be competitive with Welker as long as his contract demands are not astronomical," he writes.