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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."



  • Mike Reiss tells us the schedule for the second day of the NFL Combine.
  • Mike Reiss gathers some quick hits from the Combine on Meriweather and more.
  • Mike Reiss offers a few more quick hits from the NFL Combine.
  • Shalise Manza Young says she heard Welker was offered a fully guaranteed two-year, $16 million contract during the season.
  • Christopher Price thinks the Patriots could shuffle their defensive front seven in 2012.
  • Mike Reiss reports the agent for free-agent DE Andre Carter said Carter is interested in returning to the Patriots.
  • Mike Reiss believes that where Devin McCourty lines up could influence the Pats' roster moves.
  • Mary Paoletti looks at Devin McCourty's accolades as possibly "the best special teams player" in the 2010 Draft class, and wonders what happened?
  • Ian Rapoport sums up Nick Caserio's state-of-the-franchise address and looks at what the team hopes to accomplish at the Combine.
  • Mike Reiss highlights Nick Caserio's Thursday media session.
  • Ian Rapoport lets us in on the off-the-podium discussion with Nick Caserio, and the team's plans for the offseason.
  • Ian Rapoport notes Sterling Moore used to be known as '210' in college because he weighed 210 lbs and was called a 'fat corner'.
  • Karen Guregian says reporters got a taste on of the new Rex Ryan yesterday, where he backed off his usual boasts about his team.
  • Tom E. Curran notes Rex Ryan says his team always keeps an eye on the Patriots' moves, and that NE is "the team they have to beat, clearly".
  • Mike Reiss notes Rex Ryan sounded like a coach who was trying to change his tune and his approach.
  • Mike Reiss posts the transcript of his weekly online chat, live from the Combine.
  • Jeff Howe answers his Patriots mailbag: It's window shopping season in the NFL.
  • Tom E. Curran wraps up Day 1 of the NFL Combine. (1.17 min. video)
  • Ian Rapoport Combine Notebook: Ex-Colts GM Bill Polian was defensive when questioned about his team's quick demise, especially when compared with the 2008 Patriots team without Tom Brady; Nick Caserio downplayed any cold war between the Patriots and Tom Condon or any agent; LT Kelvin Beachum (Southern Methodist) is making the switch to guard in the NFL, just as Logan Mankins did; Patriots will need to fill the TE coaching vacancy left by Brian Ferentz who left to coach with his father at Iowa; OT Matt Kalil confidently agrees that he is the best tackle in the draft.
  • Greg A. Bedard Combine Notebook: Rex Ryan admitted his own words set up the Jets' "terrible" season; Buc's coach Greg Schiano is confident Devin McCourty will regain his Pro Bowl form this year; Bears coach Lovie Smith talked about the struggles of former Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather; free agents WR Mike Wallace and DE Cliff Avril will most likely return to their teams.
  • The Herald Inside Track reports Tom Brady was back in his hometown of San Mateo, CA as the keynote speaker for his alma mater Junipero Serra High School's annual Fund A Dream scholarship dinner.