FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots recently reached a six-year, $54 million contract extension with tight end Rob Gronkowski. It hasn't meant much thus far for Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker.
A source told ESPN.com Thursday that there's been "no meaningful progress" in recent weeks in contract talks between Welker and the Patriots. The 31-year-old Welker is currently playing on a one-year franchise tag worth $9.5 million. There was a thought after Gronkowski signed that the Patriots would turn their attention and focus to Welker next, but a source confirms that hasn't been the case.
Welker spoke to the media earlier this week and said he's happy Gronkowski got the type of long-term security he is seeking for himself.
"I'm always pulling for the players," Welker said, according to ESPNBoston.com, "especially a guy like Gronk, who does such a great job for us and works hard and deserves every bit of that contract."
All hope isn't lost for Welker, but time is dwindling to reach a long-term agreement. The deadline for franchised players to negotiate extensions is July 16. After that, Welker cannot sign a multiyear contract. Several elite players such as quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens are in the same predicament.
Welker had 122 receptions for 1,569 yards and nine touchdowns last season for the reigning AFC champions. He's had 100 receptions or more in four of his past five seasons with the Patriots.