Boston.comFor the moment, Welker will receive a one-year, fully guaranteed $9.515 million for the 2012 season, though he and the team could still negotiate a different, longer-term deal. Signing the deal represents quite a change for Welker, who last month on NFL Network said he was “in no rush” to sign his tender, and two weeks ago said on ESPNBoston radio that he was leaning toward not taking part in the team’s June mini-camp. Now, he can take part in OTAs, which begin next Monday, as well as the mini-camp. But Welker showed that he had softened from his harder stance during a WEEI interview yesterday, saying he had “$9.5 million reasons” not to miss any regular-season games. By signing now, not will he not miss a regular-season game, Welker won’t even miss any shorts-and-t-shirts throwing camps. By league rule, the two sides have until July 15 to work out a contract; after that, Welker must play the coming season under the franchise tag contract.

Frigging Welker.  Just when you think he’s going to zig, he zags.  When you think he’s going zag, he goes all Crazy Ivan on your ass.  Here he had every chance to skip all those workouts.  All that sweating under the July sun.  He could’ve kept that Franchise Tender in his back pocket, driven to Foxboro an hour before the first game, signed the thing, suited up and still catch 9 passes for 120 yards.  And collected every penny of $9.5 mil.  But not him.  He’s going to be there at every practice like the consummate pro he is.  And in the process, he’s put an entire branch of the Boston sports media out of operation: The Panic Lobby.  Back when they slapped the Franchise Tag on him, I broke down the way the toner-stained wretches in the press handle these Patriots contracts.  And we were about due for the next phase:

Phase 6: Do the Spin. When said player skips minicamps and doesn’t report to training camp on time, make it out like he’s sticking it to the man. Mention how arrogant Belichick is to think he can win without players like this guy. Use the old stand-by “It’s not the Xs and Os, it’s the Johns and Joes.” Basically act like you’re on the guy’s agent’s payroll and print whatever he tells you to.

But Welker’s taken that club right out their bag.  Because there’s work to do, mistakes to atone for and Super Bowls to be won.  So much for the long, ugly summer of contract squabbling.  Wes Welker’s got $9.5 million reasons.  And a holdout ain’t one.  Coach stays!

PS.  I’m glad he said he loves the game and loves his teammates and I’ll just assume he would’ve added “& Jerry too” if he could have. The 140 limit thing can be a bitch. @JerryThornton1