Patriots officially franchise tag Wes Welker today

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The New England Patriots are expected to place the franchise tag on wide receiver Wes Welker today.

The one-year tag is worth $9.5 million to the NFL’s leading receiver, and give the Pats more flexibility to work out a long-term deal with the wideout before the 2012 season. Franchise-tagging Welker would keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent next month.

You do recall the Butterfingers publicity stunt in Boston right after the Super Bowl? Which made Welker the comedic foil? Well, at worst Welker is getting 9.5 million reasons to forget about it.

Welker caught 122 passes for 1569 yards and nine touchdowns last season, and he has led the NFL in receptions three times during his five seasons with New England. But his drop in the Super Bowl was extremely costly; as it could have clinched the game for NE. But of course, we live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, so you understand the Butterfingers thing…and then people forget and realize what other slot receivers are available in the open market.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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