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Patriots don’t use franchise tag for first time since 2008

Aqib Talib AP

At various points since the end of the season, we’ve heard talk about the Patriots using their franchise tag to guarantee the return of one of three key free agents from last year’s team.

The deadline to use the tag has passed, however, and the Patriots did not opt to use it on any of those players. It is the first time since 2008 that the Patriots have opted against using the tag.

That means wide receiver Wes Welker, cornerback Aqib Talib and tackle Sebastian Vollmer will all become free agents if they do not reach agreement with the team on new contracts by the March 12 start of free agency. All three players would have been due big salaries for the 2013 season under the tag, numbers that the Patriots obviously thought didn’t work within the overall framework of the cap.

There was word of “progress” toward a new deal for Welker earlier on Monday, which suggests a fair chance that a deal is struck before other teams are able to steal Welker away with a bigger offer than the Pats are prepared to make. There hasn’t been any equally optimistic word on contracts for Talib and Vollmer.

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8 Responses to “Patriots don’t use franchise tag for first time since 2008”
  1. Wiggly72 says: Mar 4, 2013 4:54 PM

    Looks like TB’s restructuring has made a huge impact?

  2. tedmurph says: Mar 4, 2013 4:56 PM

    Why would they, none of these guys are worth the 10-11 mil it would cost to franchise them. With the 26 mil they have under the cap, the Pats can make a competitive offer to any of theses guys if they want to keep them. Especially since Talib has baggage and there are a lot of corners out there. Vollmer has injury history and there are a lot of tackles and Welker prob wants to stay because this is the best offense for his talents and he’s friends with Brady. And, they all have a chance to win if they stay. I doubt the market is gonna produce an offer for any of these that blows the Pats out of the running.

  3. onebucplace says: Mar 4, 2013 4:58 PM

    Tampa needs a corner (well actually 4 of them) — come back Talib!

  4. nzayir says: Mar 4, 2013 5:04 PM

    None of these players are worth the franchise tag money. If some team wants to pay Talib 11-12 million annually then I wish him luck. As for Welker I’d only give him 3 year 21 million dollar deal, he’s getting more and more banged up every season.

    Unlike a lot of Patriots fans I think Vollmer is the most expendable. A 6 foot 8 tackle with big time back problems isn’t worth it. Not to mention he just had a knee surgery.

    The Patriots drafted Marcus Cannon to replace him, and when Cannon was playing he was fantastic this season. He’s a mauler as a run blocker, and Brady has the fastest release in the NFL. If Belichick is smart (and he is), he won’t overpay for any of these guys.

  5. blackngold4life says: Mar 4, 2013 5:14 PM

    I hate these jokers..but their front office is one of the best

  6. jcmeyer10 says: Mar 4, 2013 5:21 PM

    Smart move if I can play arm chair GM for a minute.

  7. Soulman45 says: Mar 4, 2013 10:25 PM

    Welker could go to Denver and have a good go.

  8. steelerben says: Mar 5, 2013 10:28 AM

    Brian Hartline is heading to free agency. So is Danny Amendola. There are two or three guys guys coming out in the draft with similar builds and better speed. Welker might want to think twice about how much he’s asking for because the Patriots might not pay you the same as someone like the Dolphins, but do you want Ryan Tannehill or Tom Brady throwing you the ball?

    Talib was a good fit at corner but hardly worth $10 million. There are enough corners in this draft class to replace him.

    As far as Volmer is concerned, this is going to be a rough year for tackles in free agency.

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