Like the soft floral notes of spring, free agency is also very much in the air.
Instead of freshly mowed grass, pungent rain and tart lemonade, we're treated to the smells of misinformation, conflicting reports and a flurry of agent-led denials.
After it was reported that New England and Wes Welker were inching ever closer to a multi-year contract extension, the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport rained on the Patriots' parade with this small tidbit:
You guys won't believe this: I said Wes Welker was waiting for the Patriots last offer. Received a correction: Actually their 1st offer— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2013
If Rapoport is to be believed, this would indicate that the Patriots haven't come close to successfully negotiating with Welker up to this point. Typically, several rounds of offering and counter-offering between team and agent precede a player affixing his John Hancock on the dotted line. But there's currently nothing on the table for Welker to sign.
Owner Robert Kraft is as candid as it gets when it comes to getting a read on the Patriots' inner workings. You wouldn't be able to find out what type of condiment a Patriot prefers on his hamburger bun, if you asked Bill Belichick. And if his comments earlier in the week are to be believed, the organization has every intention to attempt to retain Wes Welker. Without the framework of a deal in place and with free agency mania quickly approaching, you'd have to believe more than a handful of teams are planning to at least try their luck on the Slot Machine.