The New England Patriots are faced with a tough decision, do they re-sign Wes Welker, who will become an unrestricted free agent in March, do they franchise tag him or do they release him?
Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe believes the Patriots should release Welker along with wide receiver Brandon Lloyd.
"We’ve addressed this before, but the Patriots have to be discussing the direction of the offense. If you take Welker out of the mix, they can tweak the offense only slightly, making [Aaron] Hernandez the slot receiver, and he and [Rob] Gronkowski can rule the middle of the field.
If I’m the Patriots, I let Welker walk, I don’t pay Brandon Lloyd’s $3 million option (making him a free agent), and I use that money to find the best X receiver on the market to threaten defenses down the left sideline."
Placing the franchise tag on Welker for a second consecutive season would cost the Patriots $11.4 million
If the Patriots only had Gronkowski, then Bedard believes the Patriots should keep Welker. But since Gronkowski and Hernandez have both signed long-term deals, he thinks they can cover the middle of the field.
The Patriots will also have tight end Jake Ballard, who's recovering from a torn ACL, for next season.
Welker and Lloyd both turn 32 this offseason, and the Patriots usually don't keep expensive veterans around.