Patriots opt not to use franchise tag

Patriots opt not to use franchise tag
March 3, 2014, 4:30 pm
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The Patriots elected not to franchise Aqib Talib by Monday's 4 p.m. deadline. In fact, for the second consecutive year, the team opted not to tag anyone.

The decision not to use the tag doesn't come as a surprise. To tag Talib would've cost the Patriots $11.834 million in 2014. The team and their top corner over the course of the last season-and-a-half have been discussing a new deal this offseason, and reportedly the two sides met as recently as last week's NFL Combine.

New England may negotiate a deal with Talib this week, but when the NFL's legal tampering period begins on Saturday so can the rest of the NFL. If a Talib comes to an agreement with one of his potential suitors during that time, a deal could be finalized as soon as Mar. 11, which marks the beginning of the league's free-agency period.

That the deadline to use the tag has come and gone means that receiver Julian Edelman is also set to become a free agent. Though Edelman led the Patriots in both receptions and receiving yards last season, it was unlikely the Patriots would decide to use the costly receiver franchise tag ($12.312 million) to keep him.

Other notable Patriots fee agents include running back LeGarrette Blount and center Ryan Wendell.