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Patriots.com News Blitz - 2/27/2013


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Dan Hanzus of NFL.com writes that Patriots running back Jeff Demps is looking to continue his track career. According to a report from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the former Olympic sprinter informed the Patriots he plans to return to track in a race scheduled for March. "Demps has no intention of leaving football and would like to play both sports, his agent, Daniel Rose, told Rapoport. But the Patriots might not be interested in continuing a relationship with a player whose focus isn't completely on an NFL career," adds Hanzus. Demps was signed as a rookie free agent in August but was placed on injured reserve before the start of the 2012 season after appearing in two preseason games.

Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald reports that the Patriots are not actively shopping backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. "That doesn't mean they aren't listening to offers, if any are even being received, or preparing to explore a trade avenue as they get closer to the start of free agency or even the draft," writes Howe. "But for now, all is quiet."

Greg A. Bedard of The Boston Globe reports "there is a good deal of optimism" that the Patriots and Wes Welker will agree on a three-year contract extension. "Odds are against Brandon Lloyd's $3 million option bonus being picked up," adds Bedard. "There is still a lot of internal debate about what to do considering the Patriots literally couldn't line up tomorrow at receiver."

James Walker of ESPN.com takes a look at the AFC East offseason Stock Watch. Walker tabs the New England Patriots' salary cap as rising stock. "The Patriots are now expected to be players in free agency. They have in-house players like receiver Wes Welker and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer the Patriots want to retain," he writes. "The Patriots also have the ability to go after free agents like future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed." Rob Gronkowski's stock is falling, however, according to Walker. "Gronkowski's focus the rest of the offseason should be on getting healthy."

Peter King of Sports Illustrated looks at potential free agent targets for the Patriots in the wake of Tom Brady's contract extension. "I don't know if Brady has told the Patriots he really wants them to re-sign free agent wideout Wes Welker, through I suspect he has made it known he wants Welker to stay, badly," writes King. "The most sensible things New England can do, in order, I believe, are: signing free agent defensive end Dwight Freeney, re-signing Welker, re-signing Aqib Talib, pursuing one of the top-shelf receivers, but not for a ransom, re-signing tackle Sebastian Vollmer, and, if the money is low, signing safety Ed Reed."

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