Pats put franchise tag on Welker

The New England Patriots have designated four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Wes Welker as their franchise player, a league source confirmed.

It comes at a cost of roughly $9.4 million.

Welker led the league with 122 receptions last season, ranking second in receiving yards with 1,569 behind Detroit Lions star Calvin Johnson

During his time with the Patriots, Welker has caught 554 passes for 6,105 yards and 31 touchdowns.

The Patriots want to lock up Welker with a long-term deal. Under NFL rules governing franchise players, they have until July 16 to do so. Otherwise, he'll play the entire season under the franchise tag.

Welker, 30, made $2.5 million last season.

Welker caught 123 passes in 2009. Only he and former NFL wide receiver Cris Carter have generated two seasons with 120 receptions or higher.

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