If its up to me (the Pats fan) i say sign him to three year deal (maybe with a club option). If I am Welker's agent I fully realize that this could very well be the last time to cash in on big deal (four years at $9-10m per year) so I test the FA market. For example, Welker could be an awesome slot guy for Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford. If I am contender I look at a Welker FA signing as enhancing the chances at a SB.
Big thing is how many players are still on their rookie contracts and what goes on and comes off the books next year. I don;t know the answer to this so I`ll read and listen to whoever wants to write about it. My point being Spikes draft class could still be on rookie contracts and why pay more. Just begin discussing or negotiating with players you want to keep around.
When someone mentioned the Pat were paying the offensive players (Brady et al) far more than the defensive players it was obvious that the offense was clearly better than the defense; if not than ask yourself how many teams would covet brady or Gronk more than Kyle Love. To me BB wanted to lock up Wilfork and Mayo because a) the are easily the best players on average D b) they are about the only defensive Pats players other teams would covet on the FA market.
Do you extend Ridley right now? Or do you wait for his final rookie contract year to negotiate a new deal.