New England Patriots Links 2/24/12 - NFL Scouting Combine, Day 2

Ian Rapoport wonders if the Patriots may not use the franchise tag on Wes Welker, based on Nick Caserio's comments yesterday.

"Yeah, I think we’re going through the process and like I said we’ve had conversations with our free agents at different points through the fall, so we’ll continue that dialog," Caserio said. "We have until March 13, until free agency begins, so we’ll do our due diligence, we’ll go through the process and we’ll see where we end up."

Essentially, [Caserio] bypassed the franchise tag. Does that mean it won’t be used on [Welker]? That’s what I was thinking, and that could result in Welker testing what should be a very active market. I mentioned that’s what I was thinking to someone who should know yesterday, but was told, "Don’t think too much." That left me thinking more.

Karen Guregian reports Devin McCourty's former coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano, believes McCourty will return to his rookie form next season.

"He’ll be back, there’s no doubt about it," Schiano said. "I didn’t really know he had a rough patch. I know he got bumped up a little bit. He’s been fortunate that hasn’t happened to him too much in his career. I know that’s one thing, if he didn’t play at the level he had done the year before (injuries) probably had something to do with it. Because he’s as committed a football player . . . in his preparation and the way he takes care of himself physically, all those things, that I’ve been around. So, he’ll be back."

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