Applying the franchise tag to Welker for a second consecutive season would cost the Patriots $11.4 million, roughly $2 million more than he was paid last season. Owner Robert Kraft has hinted that both sides would reach an "intelligent" long-term agreement as long as Welker's agents don't "mess it up."
With three players already accounting for a whopping 35 percent of the 2013 salary cap, Welker's return is the biggest question this offseason.
The decision on Lloyd should be easier. Due a $3 million option bonus on top of a $1.9 million base salary, Lloyd is a candidate for release after proving to be "not quite the right guy" to threaten defenses down the left sideline as the "X" receiver.