Nov 22, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker catches a ball prior to the game against the New York Jets on Thanksgiving at Met Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Free Agency Rumors: New England Patriots, Wes Welker Making 'Progress' Towards Deal

The NFL Franchise Tag Deadline is rapidly approaching and the New England Patriots are running out of time to determine if they will use the tag on one of their impending free agents. Unlike a number of teams that have no franchise tag candidates, the Patriots have three players that could legitimately deserve the designation — wide receiver Wes Welker, offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer and cornerback Aqib Talib.

Welker is the least likely player of the trio to receive the tag from New England, because it would cost the team $11.5 million.

Because of that number, the Patriots and Welker continue to discuss a long-term deal down the stretch and they are reportedly getting closer. Per Tom Curran of, “progress has been made” on a new contract.

Curran wrote:

Wide receiver Wes Welker is also a possibility, but progress has been made on getting a new deal for Welker. Also, tagging him will cost about $11.5 million because he was tagged in 2012.

That leaves Vollmer and Talib as the candidates to be tagged.

It appears that the Patriots are leaning towards not using the franchise tag on anyone, but anything is possible until the 4:00 p.m. ET deadline has passed.

Tags: New England Patriots NFL Free Agency Wes Welker

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