By Brett LoGiurato
July 09, 2012

Wes Welker and the Patriots are far apart on a long-term contract extension. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots and wide receiver Wes Welker are heading into their last week of long-term contract discussions for a while, and the big gap between the two sides suggests little possibility of a deal getting done.

The Boston Globe's Greg Bedard reported Sunday that the Patriots and Welker are about $6 million in guaranteed money apart from one another, a big divide heading into the final week of negotiations. Welker and the Patriots can negotiate on a long-term contract until July 16 at 4 p.m. At that point, the two sides could no longer negotiate until the end of the season, and Welker would be forced to play the season under the $9.515 million franchise tag. Bedard breaks it down:

Basically, the Patriots want Welker to take a bit of a discount to stay with Tom Brady. Welker, meanwhile, wants a deal that guarantees him just below the $21 million he would get paid playing two years under the franchise tag.

You’re talking about a distance in the range of around $6 million in guaranteed money.

Welker, 31, produced arguably his best season last year with the Patriots. He caught an NFL-leading 122 passes for a career-high 1,569 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns.

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