Pioli opines on Pats' approach with Welker

Scott Pioli knows a thing or two about the Patriots’ negotiating approach from his nine years with the organization, and here is his take on Wes Welker and the Patriots (via NFL Network):

“I think what has been proven time and time again is that they can afford to lose close to anyone except for No. 12, and that’s a key to this team. That’s no disrespect to Wes, because I love Wes and I love the player. The thing is, they’ve already had contingency plans with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. They’ve got a plan and an idea in mind if they lose this player – even though those guys aren’t wide receivers, they fill similar roles. It’s not something that they want to do. But again, I also know the Patriots well enough to know that they have a price and they know what they believe it’s going to be, and they’re not going to let other things dictate exactly what they’re going to do.”

Later, Pioli added: “This is part of the game. They’ve dealt with [agent] David Dunn before. It will be interesting to see how this whole thing shakes out. Some of this may just be posturing on both sides. For Wes' sake and for the Patriots' sake, I hope it is just posturing.”