The New England Patriots have three players who are important to the team and each player is essential to different aspects of the team. But as the NFL deadline for teams to be able to franchise players came and went Monday, the Patriots have decided not to use the franchise tag on any player for the 2013 season according to Boston.com.
What this means is one of the Patriots most important players on offense will be allowed to test the free agent market. Wes Welker, who was the team's franchise player for 2012, would've made $11.42 million if the team decided to franchise him again. Now the Patriots will have to find a way tore- sign Welker along with CB Aqib Talib and OT Sebastian Vollmer who were the other candidates for the Patriots' tag.
Vollmer, who was drafted by the team in 2009, played an essential role on an offensive line responsible for protecting Tom Brady, will be testing the free agent market for the first time and CB Aqib Talib, who was acquired in a trade in the middle of the 2012 season and helped a struggling secondary, will be out on the open market testing his value.
But as the Patriots have shown over the years, no player is irreplaceable and although the team will try to sign all three, they will definitely not overspend.
With Tom Brady restructuring his contract, it seems the team will at least make a run at re-signing Welker who has been Brady's favorite target over the last few seasons.
Boston.com also reports that only eight NFL teams opted to tag a player this year.
Free agency officially begins on March 12.