The Patriots have informed WR Kelley Washington that they don't plan to pick up his $4 million option bonus but are interested in him returning with a reworked deal, an NFL source told the Boston Globe's Christopher L. Gasper.
If the sides don't reach a reworked deal, Washington, a top special teams performer, will become an unrestricted free agent Feb. 29.
When Washington signed with the Patriots on March 13, 2007, the key part of the contract was a $4 million option bonus that the team had to decide on paying before the 2008 league year started (Feb. 29).
If the Patriots picked up the bonus, Washington's contract would extend through 2011. If the Patriots did not pick up the bonus, Washington would become a free agent.
While he did not catch a pass and played in only 37 offensive snaps this season due to the depth and health of others at the position, Washington seemed to enjoy playing for the Patriots after spending the first four years of his career with the Bengals. That would seemingly give the team an edge in re-signing him to a new deal.