WR deals and impact on Welker

In a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com, Mike Reiss writes on the big theme of the first day of free agency -- deals for wide receivers -- and how the action could impact the Patriots and franchise-tagged pass-catcher Wes Welker.

New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker does not have the long-term contract he desires, but on the first day of free agency, he might have gained something else -- reassurance of his value in the NFL marketplace.

Did you see all those contracts for receivers across the league?

In Tampa Bay, Vincent Jackson inked a reported five-year, $55.5 million pact. In Washington, the Redskins doubled up with Pierre Garcon (five years, $42.5 million) and Josh Morgan (two years, $12 million), while Marques Colston re-signed with New Orleans (five years, $40 million) and Reggie Wayne did the same in Indianapolis (three years, $17.5 million). Then late Tuesday, Robert Meachem agreed to a reported four-year, $25.9 million pact with the San Diego Chargers.

While the structure of those contracts is vital to understanding their true value, on the surface, that's $193.4 million spent on six top receivers on the first day of free agency.

Then consider that the Chicago Bears traded two third-round draft choices for No. 1 receiver Brandon Marshall, and the opening of free agency was all about the wideout.

If you're Welker, who has caught more passes than any player in the NFL over the past five seasons, the deals set the framework for where contract talks would hopefully lead.

To read the piece, CLICK HERE.