Today begins the “franchise tag” period for NFL teams, which goes until Monday, March 5th, two weeks from now.
The Patriots have some decisions to make this offseason but this should really be an easy one. New England cannot afford to lose everyone’s favorite mustachioed receiver, Wes Welker, especially in these waning years of Tom Brady’s career.
The scientific dissection that Brady can perform with his short game receivers like Welker, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez leaves the Patriots only needing to find that one long-ball streaker to add to the mix.
With the NFL’s new tag rates, Welker would be etched to make $9.4M for one year if tagged. If tagged and getting a deal eventually done, the $9.4M would be guaranteed money worked into the contract, likely for three years.
Only drawback for Wes is that the tag dollars were reduced as part of the new CBA, from $11.4M to the $9.4M. Or to all of us, “HOLY $#%&! money” to “less HOLY $#%&! money”.
The guaranteed money accompanying the tag alone all but rules out any other possibility but obviously most fans (myself in particular) would at least like to see the DL tandem of Mark Anderson and Andre Carter return as well.
All Patriots’ free agents as of 2/20/2012 listed below:
DL – Mark Anderson
WR – Deion Branch
DL – Andre Carter
G – Dan Connolly
DL – Shaun Ellis
RB – BenJarvus Green-Ellis
LB – Gary Guyton
QB – Brian Hoyer (Restricted)
DB – James Ihedigbo
DL – Kevin Love (Exclusive Rights)
WR – Matt Slater
DL – Gerard Warren
WR – Wes Welker
Expect to see the tag get placed if a deal doesn’t get done by March 5th. The Patriots would have to almost be mental to allow Welker to hit free agency.