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Report: Wes Welker waiting on first offer from Patriots 03.12.13 at 12:49 pm ET
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As of early Tuesday afternoon, wide receiver Wes Welker was waiting for his first contract offer from the Patriots, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Welker, who caught more than 100 passes in five of the last six seasons with New England, is scheduled to become a free agent as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

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Report: WR Anquan Boldin dealt to Niners 03.11.13 at 4:28 pm ET
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In a move that peripherally affects the Patriots, the Ravens dealt wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the Niners on Monday afternoon for a sixth-round pick this year, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun. Boldin, who was reportedly asked to take a pay cut or be released, played the last three seasons with the Ravens, catching 186 passes for 2,645 yards and 14 touchdowns in that time. However, he had a terrific 2012 postseason ‘€” he had 22 catches in the playoffs, including five receptions for 60 yards and two touchdowns in the AFC title game and six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl.

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Robert Kraft: ‘We want Wes’ 03.11.13 at 3:33 pm ET
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With free agency set to open Tuesday at 4 p.m., Patriots owner Robert Kraft talked Monday regarding wide receiver Wes Welker, telling the New York Post, “We want Wes. We really do.”

Kraft was in New York City Monday for the NFL’s announcement of a “head health initiative.”

According to Darren Rovell, Kraft also added, ‘€œI love Wes Welker. I hope he remains a Patriot for life. Just like Tom Brady.’€

Welker, who is set to hit the open market on Tuesday, has caught at least 100 passes in five of the last six seasons with the Patriots. However, the 31-year-old receiver, who played under the franchise tag in 2012, has yet to secure a contract for 2013.

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Reports: Patriots express interest in Sean Smith, Josh Cribbs 03.09.13 at 6:16 pm ET
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The latest free agent scuttlebutt involving the Patriots includes New England showing an interest in cornerback Sean Smith, as well as return man and receiver Josh Cribbs.

‘€¢ Multiple outlets are reporting the Patriots are one of several teams who are interested in Smith, a 25-year-old defensive back who played the last four seasons with the Dolphins. The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder has five career interceptions, including two each in the last two seasons. Jason Cole of Yahoo! reports that New England is one of three teams in the mix for Smith, a group that includes the Bucs and Cardinals.

‘€¢ A report from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer indicates that New England was one of several teams already expressing interest in Cribbs. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Cribbs has value as a multidimensional offensive threat and on special teams — he had 41 catches, 518 yards in 2011, both career highs, as well as 753 rushing yards and an average of 5.9 yards per carry. In addition, last season, he returned 38 punts for 457 yards and 43 kickoffs for 1,178 yards (27.4 yards per return). That certainly would deliver a boost to the New England return game, which averaged 21.2 yards on kickoff returns in 2012, placing it in the bottom half of the NFL. According to the Plain-Dealer, along with the Patriots, the Giants, 49ers, Cardinals and Cowboys also have shown interest in Cribbs.

‘€¢ One other point that’s worth reiterating: James Harrison — who was released by the Steelers on Saturday and has taken plenty of shots at the Patriots over the years, was asked by ESPN if he was open to the idea of playing in New England. He answered: “Of course it would be nice to play with Tom Brady. I mean, who wouldn’t want to?” When it comes to the idea of Harrison in New England, it likely would be as a situational pass-rusher and (probably) not an every-down player. However, the Patriots are always looking for depth along their defensive front, and while he doesn’t have the body type that New England usually covets at that spot (think of the longer and leaner types like Willie McGinest and Chandler Jones, who measure in the 6-foot-5 vicinity as opposed to the 6-foot, 242-pound Harrison), he certainly would be an intriguing addition to the Patriots defense if he has anything left in the tank.

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Report: Mike Wallace linked to Patriots 03.09.13 at 3:34 pm ET
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Free agency doesn’t officially open until Tuesday afternoon, but there are plenty of rumors that have been attached to the Patriots through the early stages of the weekend. Here are a few of the latest updates:

‘€¢Wide receiver Mike Wallace has drawn the interest of the Patriots, according to a report from Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Wallace, 26, has emerged as one of the best deep threats in the league with 235 catches in the last four years, and has averaged 17.2 yards per catch in that period. With the New England wide receiving corps in a state of flux — the Patriots have only three receivers under contract for 2013 — and with New England with some additional money under the cap after Tom Brady’s renegotiated deal, he could be a candidate to be signed by the Patriots.

‘€¢In that same vein, New England could be interested in wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who will apparently be cut loose by the Ravens. The 32-year-old Boldin, who caught 65 passes this past year for Baltimore, is a big, physical receiver who could bring a new dynamic to the Patriots’ passing game. Boldin had a terrific postseason — he had 22 catches in the playoffs, including five receptions for 60 yards and two touchdowns in the AFC title game and six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl. He was a possibility for the Patriots as a free agent in 2010, but ended up signing with the Ravens. (We write extensively about Boldin and what he might bring to the Patriots here.)

‘€¢Among the notable players released were Steelers defensive end James Harrison. The former Defensive Player of the Year was cut loose when the two sides couldn’t agree on a cap-friendly contract. The 34-year-old, who is a five-time Pro Bowler, is expected to have several suitors, including the Ravens, Browns and Texans. (One interesting note regarding Harrison: He told Josina Anderson he’d welcome the chance to play for the Patriots.) In addition, multiple repots indicate that running back Reggie Bush will not be back in Miami, with sources telling the Miami Herald that the former Heisman Trophy winner will “categorically” not be back in South Florida. And the Bills have apparently reached an agreement on a four-year. $20 million deal with cornerback/return man Leodis McKelvin.

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Report: Wes Welker will test free agent waters 03.06.13 at 9:03 am ET
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Wide receiver Wes Welker has no plans to re-sign with the Patriots before testing the free agent market next week, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Welker, who has spent the last six seasons in New England, played the last year under the franchise tag, but the veteran was not tagged this month. The 31-year-old Welker is coming off a stretch of at least 100 catches in five of his last six seasons.

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Bill Polian: Lots to consider when it comes to shelling out top money for elite slot receivers 03.05.13 at 5:52 pm ET
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We have already written about how this is a key offseason for slot receivers, as many of them are either pending free agents or close to free agency and as a result, teams that have a top-level slot receiver across the league are looking at the Wes Welker situation as a potential contract that will set the bar for other elite slot guys like Victor Cruz, Danny Amendola and Percy Harvin.

On Tuesday afternoon, former NFL exec Bill Polian — who helped build the Bills, Panthers and Colts and is now an analyst for ESPN — was asked about any reservations GMs might have when it comes to paying top-level slot receivers like big-time receivers.

‘€œI don’€™t know that if there is any reservation about that other than injury and longevity. [Danny] Amendola has been injured. He’€™s a very good player, but you have to take the injuries into consideration,’€ said Polian on a conference call with reporters. ‘€œThat’€™s where it comes into play. I don’€™t think it’€™s necessarily small-bodied or even more quick than fast guys. They’€™re productive and have proven to be productive. I don’€™t think they come along every day.  So I don’€™t think there is a glut of them on the market.  In Wes’€™s case there is age and in Amendola’€™s case the injury so that plays into it.

‘€œ[But] how much are you willing to commit to any individual player given your cap situation, a flat cap?’€ he added. ‘€œIt’€™s essentially a flat cap, and the ability to field the team within that flat cap. All of those things come into play. I don’€™t think it has to do with a specific position or a specific body type. Free agency is much more, much more about individuals, their productivity, their injury history, their age and their cost than the draft is. They’€™re almost diametrically opposed.’€

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