For four consecutive seasons the Patriots made use of the franchise tag, but as of Monday that streak has been snapped.
The Patriots declined to place the franchise tag on any of their players, meaning that the speculated-upon names — Wes Welker, Aqib Talib and Sebastian Vollmer — are all set to hit free agency. Likewise, the team’s odds of retaining any of those players varies greatly.
In each case, it would seem that the worth of the franchise tag isn’t a worthy price for the player.
Welker would be playing under the tag for the second consecutive season, meaning his salary would go up 20 percent if he was placed under it again. However, talks between the two sides seem to be progressing along, meaning Welker may well yet stay in New England for a few more seasons.
Talib probably won’t even earn the franchise tag salary for a cornerback on the open market, so the Patriots may be content to see how free agency plays out in his case. And for Vollmer, his future with the franchise is up in the air at this point.
But should the Pats have used the tag on one of those guys? Or did they make the right choice?
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