The two week window for NFL teams to franchise tag one of their 2013 free agents opened on Monday and news immediately surfaced that the New England Patriots were not expected to use the tag on wide receiver Wes Welker.
Boston Herald columnist Ron Borges learned from a source with “intimate knowledge of the team’s thinking” that Welker would not be slapped with the franchise tag.
Instead, the Patriots will let their receiver hit the open market.
It is a smart move for New England. It makes little sense to tie up so much money in a slot receiver, especially when there are more viable candidates for the tag on the roster.
With Welker not getting the tag, it is possible that offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer could be designated as the team’s franchise player.
It will be interesting to see how much interest Welker will get during the free agency period. There is no denying that he is one of the best at what he does, but his play is starting to decline and teams may not be as willing to open up their check books for a receiver that is on the down side of his career.