Ron Borges of the Boston Herald reports that a source with “intimate knowledge of the team’s thinking” has informed him that the Patriots will not be using their franchise tag on WR Wes Welker this year.
NFL teams can begin applying franchise tags as of today, so we’re expecting a lot of news relating to players who could be tagged in the next few days.
Last year, the Patriots franchised Welker, which means doing so again would require an additional 20 percent and, according to Borges, comes out to $11.4 million. Borges adds that even though there’s no obvious replacement for Welker on their current roster, it won’t factor into their decision to part ways.
This is a pretty clear indication that Welker, 31, figures to be playing elsewhere at the start of the 2013 season and coincides with numerous reports that have suggested as much in the months prior.
We have Welker listed as the No. 10 best available player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.