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Patriots Replay Wed Jun 03 | 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

Whither Welker

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Jonathan Freeny

At this point Patriots fans have had more than enough chances to weigh in with their thoughts about the future of Wes Welker. In fact, the Whither Welker saga is actually in its second year since he was franchised in 2012, so not many new points of view are being created.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald certainly doesn't provide a different look in his piece today but he does get some interesting people to provide thoughts. Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, currently an analyst on NFL Network, said it would be "absolutely crazy" to let Welker go and that the wideout "would be crazy leaving the Patriots."

But more interesting than Irvin's take - one that he's voiced in the past when speaking to Patriots Football Weekly's own Erik Scalavino - is that of Randy Moss. Few players elicit the kind of attention Moss does with his every spoken word and the former Patriots star wide receiver did so in the Howe article.

Moss spoke of the tandem he and Welker created when they joined forces during the record-setting 2007 season and how they fed off each other.

"It was a great combination because of what we were able to do to benefit from one another," Moss told the Herald. "He's the wide receiver that you need for your dirty work. I can honestly say, and I'm not telling you something you don't already know, he does the dirty work up there. He takes the hits across the middle. He takes the short routes and takes them 20, 30, 40 yards for the first down or maybe the touchdown. You can really appreciate the guy's work."

Moss addressed Welker's contractual situation, and while he agrees with Irvin in that both parties need each other, he also was quick to mention there are other factors in negotiations that often lead to trouble.

"This league is a business," Moss said. "You can't really hang your hat on one particular player. Joe Montana got traded. I got traded. Peyton Manning. Golly. You don't know what can happen. I'll tell you what, the helium would leave the balloon if Tom Brady got traded. You see what I'm saying? It's a business. People really need to understand the business side of sports."

Welker caught 672 passes during his six years with the Patriots, more than any other player in the league. But he's also about to turn 32 and a long-term deal at this stage of his career would be a risk. A second franchise tag would be an option - but an expensive one at better than $11.6 million.

Teams have until March 4 to use the tag and it will be interesting to see if Welker remains in the Patriots future plans.

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