Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald reports that Wes Welker and the Patriots are discussing a new contract, according to sources. Although nothing appears imminent, Tom Brady's reported contract extension would free up $15 million in cap room over the next two seasons and give the Patriots added ammunition to sign free agents such as Welker. "It's still unclear what type of deal that each side would like, but these negotiations have been complex and contentious for more than a year," adds Howe. "It makes all of the sense in the world for the sides to reach an agreement, but this is no certainty."
Greg A. Bedard of The Boston Globe thinks the Patriots could use the transition tag on Aqib Talib in the wake of Tom Brady's contract extension. "The Patriots could very well use the transition tag -- right of refusal and no compensation, as opposed to two first-round picks with the franchise tag -- on Talib and save about $1.7 million," writes Bedard. The transition tag costs $8.9 million for cornerbacks, compared to $10.6 million for the franchise tag.
Bedard also believes that it's a matter of when -- not if -- backup quarterback Ryan Mallett gets traded. "With little good tape on him, it's going to be tough for the Patriots to get what they want, which, considering he's a third-round pick with two years development invested, would at least be a second-round pick if not a first-rounder," he writes. "Hard to see a team giving that up at this point. But with a weak quarterback draft class, this is the perfect time."
Jerry Spar of WEEI.com reports on Greg Bedard's appearance on The Dennis and Callahan Show on Tuesday morning, in which Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd became a topic of conversation. Bedard stated that the Patriots can avoid paying Lloyd a $3 million option bonus and save $4.9 million against the cap in 2013 if they choose to cut the veteran wideout. He added that the team will meet after the combine to determine a plan, but are hesitant to make a move due to the current depth at wide receiver. You can listen to the full interview here.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com believes that Tom Brady's new contract might allow the Patriots to target a big wideout in free agency. "With the work that Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez (and maybe Welker) will do in the middle of the field in 2013, an outside threat would help immensely," writes Rapoport. "Dwayne Bowe could still hit the market and Mike Wallace has always garnered Bill Belichick's praise. Things just got interesting."