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New England Patriots opt not to use their franchise tag

The New England Patriots did not take advantage of the franchise tag in 2013.

That according to NFL.com's Albert Breer, who cited a source in reporting the team chose not to make a move ahead of Monday's 4 p.m. ET tag deadline. The NFL later released an official list with the teams who used their franchise tag, and the Patriots were not on it.

Wide receiver Wes Welker ($11.4 million), cornerback Aqib Talib ($10.8 million) and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer ($9.8 million) all were seen as possible candidates for the tag. Each player carried a big price tag that would've significantly limited New England's options in free agency.

Welker and the Patriots reportedly have been making progress toward a new deal. At this time, it appears Welker is the most likely of the three to remain in Foxborough.

This marks the first time in five years that the Patriots did not franchise a player. The team tagged Welker, guard Logan Mankins, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and quarterback Matt Cassel in consecutive years dating back to 2009.

The Patriots have until March 12 before their free agents can negotiate with other teams.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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