In response to mia76's comment:
The biggest thing WW has going for him is that he DOES NOT GET INJURED. Yeah he blew out his knee one year and was back at the start of the next year and has been on the field ever since. That is huge for a slot receiver because they get hammered a few times every game. The obvious options to replace Welker if he leaves are Amendola and Edelman - I like both of those players and they are both younger and faster and may have comparably good talent, BUT Edelman has played 22 of a possible 37 games the last two years and Amendola only 12 of 32. All the talent and youth and speed doesn't make up for only playing 50%+/- of the games your team plays.
And Welker coverts first downs - more than 50% of his post season catches the last two years moved the chains (18 of 35) and 62% of his catches in the regular season the last two years moved the chains (149! of 240!)
I don't want the Pats giving him a blank check, but 8M/ year is not out of the question. They obviously have some 'fall-back' options that are cheaper, but they also come with bigger performance risk.
I agree. But I would be willing to push the numers up to $9 million per year to get this deal done! It is said that Amendola's rate is going to be around the $6 million range, so you sign him and then sign Edelman and then just pray that the two of them combined can get a full season in and put up impressive numbers? Or sign Welker in the $8-$9 million range knowing what you get with him. I'll take Welker and his $8-$9 mill.