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Pats ready to let Welker hit the market?

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08:05 AM ET 02.12 | There are pros, of course, to the Patriots franchising Wes Welker -- reliability in the slot and as a security blanket of sorts. Con: The franchise number for Welker is $11.4 million, given he was tagged last season. That's a huge hit on the Pats for a receiver who turns 32 in May. He's also made a few critical drops in big games. ... [Extending] the tag and having him sign could potentially lock them in at an unfriendly cap figure, much like last season when a longer deal wasn't worked out. Do the Pats really want to risk paying him $11.4 million? Not extending the tag and having him establish his price in free agency -- something the Pats ultimately could match -- might be a better way to go.

Boston Herald

Wes Welker, Icon Sports Wes Welker, Icon Sports
February 12, 2013  08:08 AM ET

Hard choices have to be made at time to let popular players go to not cripple the cap with just a few player. And teams like NE and Pittsburgh seem to always find younger talent to replace them.

February 12, 2013  08:11 AM ET

$11.4M doesn't work.

February 12, 2013  08:15 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

$11.4M doesn't work.

Nope. It just doesn't fit into the scheme of things capwise.

February 12, 2013  08:18 AM ET

We had this same story last year. Welker is still Brady's go-to receiver. And he will be in September, too.

And when the by-line is the Boston Herald, there's no sense in taking it seriously.

February 12, 2013  08:18 AM ET

I'm strangely OK with this. I think Edelman finally started taking some steps forward prior to his injury this year and with healthy Gronk, Hernandez and now Ballard in the mix, as well as Vereen coming on. I think the Patriots will be OK without Welker.

In the end I see Welker re-signing for less in NE.

February 12, 2013  08:22 AM ET

What other team would he fit in with ?

February 12, 2013  08:25 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

What other team would he fit in with ?

Denver would probably be a good fit. But this is why I see Welker coming back to New England for less, he knows he has a nice niche in New England, and knows he probably won't be nearly as targeted on another team. Plus there is no way he will be able to develop the type of chemistry he has with Brady elsewhere.

February 12, 2013  08:26 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

We had this same story last year. Welker is still Brady's go-to receiver. And he will be in September, too.And when the by-line is the Boston Herald, there's no sense in taking it seriously.

Yes, but last year the tag cost them $9.515 million versus 11.4 this year. Another 2 mill could help lots of places. Not sure why they haven't worked on a long term deal during the season.

February 12, 2013  08:29 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Denver would probably be a good fit. But this is why I see Welker coming back to New England for less, he knows he has a nice niche in New England, and knows he probably won't be nearly as targeted on another team. Plus there is no way he will be able to develop the type of chemistry he has with Brady elsewhere.

I can't see Denver paying much for his services. Plus, don't forget they still have Brandon Stokely, who is Peyton's version of Welker.

I think he'll stay in NE, for less.

February 12, 2013  08:30 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

Not sure why they haven't worked on a long term deal during the season.

Indeed. That is the question. Hamlet had it wrong.

February 12, 2013  08:30 AM ET

But what I want to know is when will we get a thread about whether Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden will be the next Pope?

February 12, 2013  08:31 AM ET

Tough Guy. I like him. But he's going to be an ex-Pat and the closest he will ever getting to winning a ring bounced off his shoulder in the 4th Qtr of SB XVLI.

February 12, 2013  08:31 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

But what I want to know is when will we get a thread about whether Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden will be the next Pope?

It's about to be a black Pope... The world is about to EXPLODE yo!

February 12, 2013  08:32 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

But what I want to know is when will we get a thread about whether Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden will be the next Pope?

Don't forget Parcells

February 12, 2013  08:44 AM ET
QUOTE(#13):

It's about to be a black Pope... The world is about to EXPLODE yo!

The Rooney Rule doesn't apply to the Vatican. I'm thinking they may go back to an Italian.

February 12, 2013  08:45 AM ET
QUOTE(#14):

Don't forget Parcells

Yeah, fish on Friday, but Tuna every day.

February 12, 2013  08:48 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

And when the by-line is the Boston Herald, there's no sense in taking it seriously.

typically that is very true but it seems that Welker's time is up in NE. he's taken a lot of big hits for a little guy and it's taken a toll of late. probably why he has had some big misses in big games the past few seasons.

February 12, 2013  09:03 AM ET

Brady is 35. The "window of opportunity" has been open for a long, long time in New England, but you can count the number of chances for another ring on one hand now. They aren't going to let one of their top weapons get away.

February 12, 2013  09:13 AM ET
QUOTE(#18):

Brady is 35. The "window of opportunity" has been open for a long, long time in New England, but you can count the number of chances for another ring on one hand now. They aren't going to let one of their top weapons get away.

Not so sure about that. That kind of money can get you a very goood WR and/or a slot receiver that is pretty good. Is it Welker or Brady that makes that combo work? Consider this: If I am the Pats and the Giants tender Cruz, then I trade my first round late pick and sign him for a lot less than Welker, I get younger and save money.

As a Giants fan I hate to see it happen, but objectively, it is the smart move by a team like the Pats. That late first round pick is not worth even close to a victor cruz.

 
February 12, 2013  09:36 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

What other team would he fit in with ?

Titans need receiver who can roam the middle and not be jittery...Locker needs help....got plenty of cap room.....

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