According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, there’s a decent enough chance that the Patriots will use their franchise tag on WR Wes Welker for the second straight season because “he’s too valuable to let walk.”
Welker was seeking a long-term deal last year, but the Patriots prevented that from happening by simply applying their tag to him. Another tag would come with a 20 percent increase, but it’s pretty clear that the Welker is still a very effective player in New Englands offense. The Pats seemed to be hoping that Julian Edelman would be able to take his place, but injuries to their tight ends and Edelman himself changed their offensive attack.
Edelman will also be a free agent, so there’s serious decisions to be made regarding the two players. Reiss notes that franchising Welker would put them in a position where he and Tom Brady would account for 27 percent of the team’s cap space.
We have Welker listed as the No. 8 player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.