Caserio won't tip hand on Welker talks

Caserio won't tip hand on Welker talks
February 23, 2012, 10:51 pm
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INDIANAPOLIS - Nick Caserio is gifted in the art of filibustering. The Patriots personnel man is a "just-the-facts" kind of orator who can explain a process without tipping any details. So it was Thursday at the NFL Combine where Caserio, the Patriots' main personnel man, met with the media. Asked about the most pressing personnel decision among players with the team - Wes Welker - Caserio said, "We're going through the process. We've had conversations with our free agents at different points, whether it was in the fall. We'll continue that dialogue."We have until March 13 until free agency begins. So we'll do our due diligence, we'll go through the process and see where we end up."Welker, who will hit free agency unless the Patriots opt to franchise him (the window to do so opened this week and ends March 5), is seeking a deal that will put him among the highest-paid receivers in the league. The Patriots have made offers that Welker's agent, David Dunn, has not yet agreed to. Because Welker's a slot receiver who'll be 31 this year, his value may not be as high as younger, down-the-field threats on the open market. I asked Caserio if the Patriots anticipate Welker maintaining his explosiveness into his mid-30s. "Wes has been a productive player since he's been here. His body of work speaks for itself," Caserio said. "Really, any player, it's year to year. One of the things we try to do is we always look forward, don't live in the past, and really we just see how the player performs at that particular time."