The New England Patriots have their hands full in this offseason when it comes to free agency and the 2013 NLF Draft. Tough negotiations and decisions are in alignment to take place as it is imperative to take control of the team’s 2013 season destiny.
The most discussed topic is figuring out Wes Welker’s fate. Will he stay or will he go?
December 1, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin (1) carries the ball against the Kansas Jayhawks during the third quarter at Milan Puskar Field. The West Virginia Mountaineers won 59-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
That’s probably an approximate $11.4 million dollars answer if contract negotiations go this far given Welker’s value and what he would be asking for. Although Welker has proven to be an outstanding and flexible slot receiver, the Patriots unlikely will retain him if the asking price is in the ball park of $11.4 million. There is just not enough funds to make this deal work given the Patriots salary cap is in between $16-18 million dollars. But because of their picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Patriots could accrue roughly $3.5 million in cap charges, which leaves them with anything between $13-16 million dollars to work with to re-sign, tender current players, or target other team’s free agents.
As we know, Welker is not the only one to hit the free agency market. Sebastian Vollmer and Aqib Talib are also set to become free agents; although, Julian Edelman and Kyle Arrington, tag are not as high as Vollmer and Talib.
If there is any possibility in retaining Welker, Vollmer and Talib for the 2013 season, more contracts restructuring will have to happen. That includes restructuring Tom Brady’s contract once again, and also working with Logan Mankins and Vince Wilfork’s contract and the option of inclining them to signing bonuses.
Should all hell break loose and Welker walks out, according to Dane Brugler on CBS Sports, it is suspected that New England Patriots will select Tavon Austin with the 29th pick.
Austin at 5’9 and 174 pounds is a senior out of West Virginia that possesses strong traits to replace Welker. In 2012 while at West Virginia University, Austin had 114 receptions for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns. He added 643 rushing yards on 72 carries and 3 touchdowns. He also returned 1 kick return for touchdown.
Austin was named the winner of the 2012 Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player of the year.
Coach Bill Belichick does not waste much time in negotiating. It’s “take it or leave it” and he goes by on what a player can do for the team in the future and not what the player has done in the past.
Follow Celia Westbrook on Twitter @celiawestbrook