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To Franchise or Not To Franchise?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Feb 19, 2013.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That is really the question of the next two weeks.

    I fully expect the patriots to try to sign patriot-friendly contracts with almost all of our free agents in the next 3 weeks before free agency starts, certainly the top seven (Welker, Talib, Vollmer, Edelman, Arrington, Thomas and Woodhead). I also expect us to try to sign Hooman.
    ==================
    BUT, WHAT IF WE CAN'T REACH A DEAL?
    So, the question is no longer whether we should pay Welker $8M a year. The new 6 questions are whether we should put a franchise tag on Welker, a transition tag on Welker or no tag. We also have that decision with regard to Talib and Vollmer. Should we tender Hooman?

    WELKER
    I suspect that a tag will not happen.

    TALIB and VOLLMER
    I think a tag could happen one of these players. There are many factors, including how comfortable the team is with our in-house replacements. Free agency will provide replacements, but the risk is that the player we choose won't be plug n play.
  2. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No. With the limited cap room that the Pats have, they are better off signing a guy for a $6M cap hit on an $8M a year contract than using a $10M tag. There are plenty of similar alternatives in the market to Talib and Vollmer, and the $11.4M tag on Welker makes even less sense than the $10M tag on either of the other two.

    And I see no reason to not tender Ho-oh. He's worth keeping through camp, and as long as he doesn't suffer a season-ending injury, they can just cut him. If Ballard is near healthy, then he's a clear upgrade over Ho-oh.
  3. Wilfork#75

    Wilfork#75 Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    I would only consider a tag for Vollmer if the intention was to try and trade him. We can find better value at CB than Talib and the cap number for Welker is too high. I think we could probably get a decent return for Vollmer in a tag and trade (2nd +), but it would probably require an agreement in place with Welker but not made official until after the trade to keep cap space available for other moves. If you don't think you can move Vollmer than just let him walk and take a comp pick next year. But that is the only scenario I would use the tag.
  4. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think this board has a much higher opinion of Vollmer than the market will.
  5. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    A tag and trade requires the cooperation of the player. Vollmer could only be traded AFTER he signs the franchise contract, likely not until June. The franchise amount would count against the pats even though Vollmer was unsigned.

  6. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I think if they were planning on trading any of these 3 players it would probably be Welker, as he would have the higest return. If they aren't going to tag and trade Welker, they aren't going to tag and trade anyone else either.

    I don't think Vollmer stays due to some other team valuing/overvaluing him as a potential LT, but I also don't think they'd waste their time and resources trying to acquire a mid round pick or so for him either, because that's really all it would be at this point.

    I also don't think that Welker would have anything of an agreement in place due to the fact that he and his agent probably don't trust the front office very much at this point in time. They certainly wouldn't waste their opportunity to score bigger money in the initial stages of FA while waiting on and trusting in the team to complete other deals. That won't happen for sure.
  7. Brady_to_Moss

    Brady_to_Moss Revis Island is here PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #95 Jersey

    they won't use the tag this year IMO
  8. Wilfork#75

    Wilfork#75 Rookie

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    I think if the Pats were to explore this option they would need to gauge the trade market now and determine if there would be sufficient interest. I think if a team were willing to make a trade with the Pats they would likely need to ensure Vollmer signs an extension, so I would think if he agree's to an extension with the trading team he would then sign his tender to make the deal happen. He would need to cooperate to make it happen but I think he would do so for a long term deal.

    In terms of the cap hit, its obviously necessary to have him on the books while the trade is worked out. That is why I think if we wanted to keep Welker, we would need to come to an agreement with Welker, but not make the deal official until Vollmer is off the books. I think if Welker and the Pats can come to a reasonable agreement there would be enough trust there to wait to make it official. This would allow us to take on the Vollmer Franchise Tag hit and still leave some space to make other moves in free agency.

    I don't see any teams giving up anything of significance for a 32 year old slot receiver who is looking for a big contract. That is also why I think he is more likely to re-sign with the Pats instead of another team because he is much more valuable to us than any other team.

    In terms of Vollmer, I think he could quickly become the most attractive OT in the market. Right now the free agent OT market looks pretty good, but i expect that to change dramatically before the start of free agency. Looking at the top OT's available:

    Jake Long: Declining, will likely price himself out of most teams price range.
    Ryan Clady: Franchise Tag
    Brandon Albert: Possible franchise tag or re-signing
    Andre Smith: RT
    Will Beatty: Giants top FA priority, possible franchise tag if no long term deal
    Phil Loadholt: RT, possible re-signing, possible (unlikely) franchise
    Sam Baker: Likely re-signing

    After taking these likely moves into account, this free agent OT class can become fairly weak pretty quickly. Vollmer will likely be viewed as a LT by a lot of teams and will be one of the premier options available. For teams looking for LT help there also isn't much talent available in the draft.

    Luke Joeckel- Texas A&M- Likely won't fall past #4
    Eric Fisher- Central Michigan- Likely won't fall past #7
    Lane Johnson- Oklahoma- Likely won't fall past #16

    So if the free agent LT market does suddenly become weak, there isn't a lot of help for OT needy teams. If we were to try and tag and trade Vollmer, some possible trading partners would be:
    - Philly- If they don't take Joeckel or Fisher at #4
    - Arizona- If they miss out on Fisher at #7
    - SD- If they don't want to reach for Lane Johnson at #11
    - Stl- If Lane Johnson doesn't fall to #16
    - Chi- Will likely miss out on the top 3 LT's in the draft

    I think there certainly should be trade value there for Vollmer and I don't think a 2nd and 4th round pick should be out of the question. He is a premier RT that has proved the ability to play on the blindside and should be one of the top 2 veterans on the market. I think SD and Chicago make the most sense because them taking a OT at their positions in the draft wouldn't be great value.
  9. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I believe that there might be a trade market for Vollmer. After the first round of the draft would indeed be a good time for a trade. That presumes that we tag him, and free up Vollmer's cap money for after the draft. This scenario also presumes that he signs the franchise in time for the deal the patriots want.
    =============
    Much more to the point, there may be a free agent market for Vollmer, making it less likely that he would jump to sign a franchise tag.

  10. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Your reasoning and argument are well thought out, but we have a difference of opinions on this one. Sometimes that happens.

    Like I said, I also think it's a big stretch to assume that Welker and his camp are going to feel confident in trusting the front office at the moment to wait on a wink/nod deal before signing so the team can negotiate with another player. That seems like a stretch. To this point, Welker's "leap of faith" hasn't exactly proven to be fruitful.

    I just don't see any of the following:

    --The team offering Vollmer the tag

    --Vollmer wanting to sign it

    --Welker putting his deal on hold under the assumption that they have something in place, but must wait until they are done with another player first before signing it

    --Another team giving up both a 2nd and a 4th for a guy with chronic back issues who also had a significant knee injury this season
  11. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I hope you are right, but I am not feeling too optimistic about the chances of Wes returning to be honest. I do think that there will be a handful of teams who would be more than willing to give up a 3rd or so for Welker, who I actually think would demand more compensation that Vollmer based on his production, durability, and reputation alone.

    You are also making the assumption that "he's looking for a big contract." The real truth to the matter is that Welker seems to want something on a multi-year deal with an aav of about 8 million dollars, which is roughly 1/2 of what the top tier WRs are making, and not even 1/2 when talking about guaranteed money.

    It is also quite comparable to the contract that Laurant Robinson signed last year (5/33) for an aav of about 7 million on a multi yr deal. If there was actually someone dumb enough to give that kind of money to Robinson based on one semi-productive year (cough--Jacksonville--cough), then I would imagine there will be at least several teams who are willing to give something similar to the most productive WR in the game since 2007.

    It wasn't the 8 million aav that Welker necessarily had a problem with last year with N.England, it was the guaranteed money that his agent claimed "were still about 6 million dollars away on an agreement." I don't see one bit of reasoning to believe that another team will not offer him the guaranteed money in the high teens (compared to the "top" WRs that average guaranteed money in the 40's and 50's).

    I also don't buy into the fact that "Welker is more valuable here," and my guess is that there will be several teams who are willing to step up and take a chance on the deal that N.England apparently is not comfortable making. Remember that the "2/16" deal that we offered Welker last year was an extension on his last contract year. Once that was off the table the front office quickly lowered their "2/16" offer immediately. If they aren't willing to pay him 2/16 last year, I'm not sure why they would this year? At any rate, it doesn't appear to me that Welker is looking at anything close to breaking the bank, just something in the lines of being fair, so I think 8 million aav gets the job done with another team.
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I expect Welker to be wearing a colt or bronco uniform within a month. This seems the most likely outcome of where we are.
  13. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I think that Stokely provides them a great value at an extremely cheap price as it is (not to mention Tamme too), and that they would much rather keep their primary targets with the 2 WR's of Thomas and Decker the same. Adding Welker doesn't seem like a bright move cap hit wise to me, not to mention it would also cut production from their top 2 receivers who both were close to the 100 catch mark. I think he'd be a waste and that they should address other areas of the team instead for that kind of money.

    I could envision Indy though. I think there will be at least 4-6 teams who are very interested, but I don't think that Denver is one of them.
  14. Jackson 2

    Jackson 2 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    As an offensive lineman with a well-documented history of back problems, and relatively frequent ones at that, I think the market for Seabass may be considerably more limited than many on this board may believe. I think Talib made a significant difference in the secondary, but I'm not sure he's good enough for franchise money. I'd have questions about franchising Welker, but in my mind if I had to use the tag on one of the three, it'd be him.
  15. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Why would the free agent market affect him signing the tag? He can't be a free agent if he is tagged.
  16. Joey007

    Joey007 Rookie

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    I wouldn't use the Tag, costs too much money. Like I've been saying all offseason, keep 2 of the 3 guys. If it goes by need, I'd say resign Welker and Talib, because we've really struggled at bringing in guys at each of their positions and we do really well at drafting and coaching up O lineman.
  17. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If Vollmer believes that there is no market for him, he'd sign the franchise tag and guarantee himself the cash..

    If Vollmer believes that there is a viable market for him, then he can decide on best options. he can choose whether and when to sign the tag. Unless there is something in it for him, I wouldn't think that he would sign until August, or the date that the team can reduce the tag value.

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