Monday, February 18, 2013
Tag thoughts for Pats
By Tim Kavanagh
As the offseason has proceeded for the New England Patriots, the discussion concerning their 2013 season has revolved around which of their impending free agents would be retained (via a new contract or franchise tag) and which would be left to explore other options in free agency. According to Ron Borges of the Boston Herald, we can rule one of them out for the tag already.
Per "someone with intimate knowledge of the team's thinking," the Pats are not going to apply the franchise tag to WR Wes Welker; doing so would produce a one-year franchise tender of $11.4 million, since he was tagged for 2012. So will anyone else be tagged?
The other two players that are believed to be the primary options for a tag are RT Sebastian Vollmer and CB Aqib Talib. Some have said that Vollmer is the Pats' most vital re-signing project, while others have opined that they'd be fine moving on from him, with Marcus Cannon waiting in the wings. A tag for Vollmer would produce a one-year tender of $9.660 million. The last time the Pats used the tag on an O-lineman was 2011, when they tagged OG Logan Mankins before extending him to a six-year, $51 million deal later that offseason.
As for Talib, there were reports in weeks past that the Patriots aren't completely sold on his staying on the straight and narrow, and accordingly, aren't completely sold on re-signing him to a multi-year deal. It would seem that the franchise tag -- which would cost them $10.668 million in Talib's case -- is a strong option, giving them another year of production without the commitment of a long-term pact. This could also result in Talib getting an extension mid-season if things went well. Unlike with Vollmer, the Pats' cupboard at CB is relatively bare.
It could be any of the three -- the Pats could always have a change of heart on Welker -- or it could be none of the three. The Pats have two weeks to make a decision that will help shape the rest of their offseason.