After a disappointing playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium, the New England Patriots franchise heads into the off-season with a lot of questions surrounding the team.
The Patriots fell apart at the wrong time on Sunday with the Ravens clearly the better and motivated football team, but despite the disappointing effort, the questions remain about the team’s immediate future.
Free agency in the NFL doesn’t start until March and the Patriots will be one of the more active teams considering the big-name players that will become available on their squad. The two players that the team will need to make decisions on are perennial Pro Bowler Wes Welker and cornerback Aqib Talib.
Both players played major roles for the Patriots this season and have uncertain future moving forward. New England would be wise to re-sign both players, but have remained quiet on the team’s intentions heading into the off-season.
Welker addressed his future with the Patriots by saying the following via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com:
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I’m not worried about that right now.”
Talib was asked about his immediate future in New England and basically had no answer claiming that he’s loved his time as a Patriot and will see where the business side of the NFL takes him. New England’s defense was given a considerable boost after the acquisition of Talib from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the team would benefit to keep him in the secondary long-term as he proved his worth in his short time with the Patriots.
As for Welker, the two sides haven’t seen eye-to-eye for quite some time now and it doesn’t look good moving forward. Despite the contract dispute before the 2012 campaign, Welker finished with 118 catches on the season and played at a Pro Bowl-caliber level once again.
Tom Brady has been adamant about wanting the team to re-sign Welker, but it still remains uncertain if a deal can get done with the veteran wide receiver during the off-season.