David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots Rundown: Wes Welker and Stevan Ridley

1. Mike Reiss offered up an extremely interesting thought in his weekly mailbag on ESPN Boston’s excellent New England Patriots blog after being asked a question about Wes Welker‘s impending free agency. Here’s what Reiss wrote, “I think two years at $16 million would be something the team might be agreeable to, but I would imagine that would fall short of Welker’s hopes.”

Reiss was also quick to note that age is not as big of a factor with receivers as at other positions, and even though Welker is 32 I think he still has at least three very strong years left on him. It’s interesting that Reiss believes $8 million is Welker’s worth to the team, and I have a feeling he ends up getting $8-10 million per year depending on how much cap the Pats have available and who they want.

2. Another top beat writer, this time Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe, offered up an interesting tidbit about another skill position player but from a performance perspective. According to Bedard, Ridley dropped two passes on eight “catchable” throws this past season. In total Ridley had six passes on 14 targets this past season, but his poor pass-catching ability isn’t of concern to me. I’d rather have those targets go to elite receiving RBs in Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen, and that’s part of the reasons why we have those guys on the team.

3. ESPN Cleveland expects the Cleveland Browns will let former New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson walk this offseason via unrestricted free agency. Watson is still a useful backup in this league especially with his experience, intelligence, and character in the locker room. He’s one of the better tight ends on the market this offseason, and he’ll latch on somewhere as a veteran backup. Right now, the Browns need to get Jordan Cameron going and focus on getting him into a bigger role. He is a hyper-athletic TE with excellent potential as budding star pass-catcher at the tight end position, and the Browns will be hoping that he can pan out.

4. Joe Flacco‘s agent has made quite the name for himself as an aggressive agent who is always capturing the headlines with his strong beliefs about his client. Joe Linda was in the headlines again and told CNBC that he thinks Flacco deserves to be the highest paid quarterback in the league, “When you do a contract of this magnitude, you look at what is the player’s body of work presently. And what are the expectations going forward over the next four, five or six years. Joe wins on both accounts.”

I hope Flacco and his agent look at it a different way, because Flacco’s contract will dictate what the Baltimore Ravens will do in free agency with their other players. They are already over the cap, and a report from Adam Schefter stated that  they could release Anquan Boldin and even Jacoby Jones (two integral parts to the Super Bowl victory in the game and throughout the season) in order to get under the cap due to the impending Flacco deal. I hope Flacco realizes that he needs his key wide receivers, and the Ravens surely realize that as well. Ozzie Newsome isn’t going to overpay Flacco even if he led the team to an SB victory, because smart GMs and front offices (like the Ravens) don’t easily fall for popular consensus. Flacco is going to get a huge deal, but Ravens fans will hope that Flacco and his agent don’t get all of what they want. Highest paid QB? Sounds like Linda is trying too hard here.

Ravens teammate Haloti Ngata is scheduled to have an MRI tomorrow.

5. Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher is one of the best tackles headed for the 2013 NFL Draft, and here is a great look at Fisher from NE Patriots Draft.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Benjamin Watson Eric Fisher Haloti Ngata Joe Flacco Joe Linda New England Patriots Stevan Ridley Wes Welker

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