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Wes Welker, Pats reportedly making 'progress' on deal

Monday is the final day NFL teams can apply franchise tags on players. The New England Patriots still are debating whether or not to use the tag, according to Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet New England, but it won't go to wide receiver Wes Welker.

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That's not a huge surprise, but it does sound like Welker might be sticking around. Curran reports the Patriots and Welker have made "progress" on a new deal. This news meshes with NFL.com's Albert Breer's report last week that the Patriots and Welker still might get an extension done.

Curran reports that the Patriots are trying to decide whether to use the tag at all, with offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer and cornerback Aqib Talib as two candidates. Vollmer is one of the best free agents on the market, and the Patriots might use the tag on him as a precursor to a possible deal.

It would be hard for the Patriots to keep all three players, but it sure sounds like the previously expected divorce with Welker might not come to pass.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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