Monday, March 11, 2013

Robert Kraft 'really' wants receiver Wes Welker back


New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said last month that he wants free agent wide receiver Wes Welker back for next season. Nothing has changed, except maybe an addition of the word "really."

While speaking with reporters in New York on Monday, Kraft emphasized his desire to have the Pro Bowler return. (photo: Beth Hart, Flickr)

“We want Wes. We really do,” Kraft told Bart Hubbuch of the New York Daily News.

Kraft was also quoted by Darren Rovell of ESPN as saying that he wants Welker to “remain a Patriot for life. Just like Tom Brady.”

Touching words. Whether Kraft’s words reflect the monetary implications of re-signing Welker, however, remain to be seen. The team passed on franchise-tagging the wideout last week, which would've put an $11 million clamp on its already somewhat tight salary cap space.

The team currently has less than $23 million of cap room to spare, according to

The two sides have until 4 p.m. Tuesday to work out a deal before Welker officially becomes a free agent. Before franchise-tagging him in 2012, Welker was under a five-year, $18.1 million contract that included a $9 million signing bonus.

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