Pats likely to release WRs Welker, Lloyd
Wes Welker could become an unrestricted free agent in March unless the New England Patriots resign him. The only way to retain Wes Welker is if the New England Patriots apply the franchise tag for the second consecutive season, which could cost the team somewhere between $11.4 million. The franchise tag is about $2 million more expensive than what the New England Patriots re-signed Wes Welker to last season. According to a few reports, the New England Patriots are trying to reach a conclusive decision in their negotiations. But due to no confirmation by league sources, the issue is still under speculation as both parties are still reportedly negotiating clauses in their long-terms deal.
But with three New England Patriots players already responsible for 35 percent of the team’s salary cap next season Wes Welker’s return is currently surrounded by dark clouds.
Meanwhile Brandon Lloyd’s decision is relatively easier considering Lloyd will be up for a $3 million roster bonus in addition to a $1.9 million base salary. But after delivering no major impact against the opposing defenses from the left sideline, Brandon Lloyd might too be eligible for release. At the moment, Brandon Lloyd and special teams member Matt Slater are the only wide receives under contract by the New England Patriots.
Although both Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd led first and second in the team in terms of receptions and receiving yards, contributing to a stable passing attack for the New England Patriots, both players will turn 32 during the offseason. The New England Patriots have always favored younger, less expensive talent over aging veterans.
Moreover, the New England Patriots prefer to use tight ends in their passing game. The New England Patriots could have Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski in the middle of the field, while Jake Ballard (who missed the 2012 season with torn ACL) is also available adding further depth in the department. So, the New England Patriots will only be left to find an experienced and naturally talented “X” receiver to bolster their passing game.