The franchise tag does not have to be used every year and if you’re going to be smart about making your money stretch, the tag isn’t really the best option. Short-term deals with all three of those players would substantially save the Patriots money this year because the way the tag works is you get the average salary for all the top players at your position.
Wes Welker, if franchised, would make 11.4 million for this year and that’s flat out too much. I want Welker back on this team, but as he ages his body will be much more susceptible to injury and that is a fact. Welker isn’t a receiver that gives you a huge play potential and, though what Welker does is at points the most successful aspect of that Patriots offense, he simply isn’t worth 11.4 million. We also have to factor in those drops at some point.
I’m convinced the Patriots won’t franchise any of them and I’m pretty sure you’ve seen the last of Welker. Last year Welker and the Patriots were so far off in contract talks they were hamstrung into franchising him and I just don’t see them using the tag on the same player twice in a row. Vollmer will get his deal this off-season because it makes much more sense financially and he’s a proven commodity. Talib would be the only one I would consider tagging, but even that I would much rather see a two-year deal for less money or Cromartie to come in and replace him.