Absent any other source I assume this report is based on Curren's piece in today's Pro-Jo. Tom doesn't cite any sources either, just says it's unlikely. He may just be staking out the alternate call in the absence of any real knowledge to the contrary.
"Adam Vinatieri will come one step closer to hitting the open seas of free agency today.
The Patriots have until 4 p.m. today to designate a franchise player, and all indications are that they won't use the designation. New England made Vinatieri their franchise player in 2002 and 2005. Not doing it today means that -- unless the team and the kicker come to a contract accord before March 3 -- he will be an unrestricted free agent."
I saw an interview with Adam after the season ended where they asked him about the tag and his comment was they really don't like to have the highest paid at any position. Didn't say he had any qualms about it. Some have speculated that he was promised it would not be used again after last year. But in his case (kicker getting well above top 5 average) I don't know that he would particularly care. Although they used the exclusive tag last season which meant no other team could talk to him (i.e. establish his market).
Curren also says there have been no substantial talks in the off season, which is a rehash of what they've all said for the last few weeks. Of course Adam only named a new agent to replace his suspended agent about two weeks ago.
Perhaps they will Transition him. Same money in his case but it allows both sides to gauge his market and sign him with no draft compensation stifling the market. It doesn't lock either side in but gives the Pats a week to think about what they want to do after he gets an offer he'd accept from someone. Who knows, could be a week in which the CBA gets approved.