The Patriots decided against using the franchise tag, I'm told. So Vollmer, Welker and Talib will be UFAs if unsigned by 3/12.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 4, 2013
The franchise tag deadline came and went and the Patriots opted not to tag any of their up and coming free agents. Sebastian Vollmer, Aqib Talib and Wes Welker are all big name free agents that will now hit the open market in exactly one week.
Generally speaking, using the franchise tag is not a decision that brings value to your team so I don’t disagree with the decision overall. The decision not to tag any of their free agents does warrant a quick note that now these players will hold all the cards for their future. In free agency, the highest bidder more often than not gets the player, so the Patriots are allowing these players to go test the market. The problem with that theory is if the players get offered a big deal, the Patriots won’t be able to match all of them.
The salary CAP is supposedly coming to fruition this year and by that I mean it’s supposed to actually matter; at least that is what the Patriots think. They think this year’s free agency class will bring great talent at discounted prices because most teams haven’t prepared for this moment like they have. If you’re a Patriots fan, you sure hope that’s the case because if it’s not, we could lose all three of them to higher bidders.