- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Taking a look at some of the Patriots links around the Web:
1. Walker -- keep Welker. ESPN.com's AFC East reporter James Walker says that of all the Patriots free agents, wide receiver Wes Welker is the player they must keep this offseason. Walker doesn't see the team overpaying for Welker, and pegs the likelihood that he stays at around 50 percent.
2. But should they Welker walk... ESPN's NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. has a ready-made replacement in mind: West Virginia's Tavon Austin. Kiper overviews several NFL stars who may need to be replaced by their respective teams this offseason, and suggests that Austin (featured in ESPNBoston's "advance scouting" series) matches from both a skillset and availability standpoint. (Insider content)
3. Offseason priority: secondary. Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com has his top priority for each AFC team this offseason, and he says solidifying the secondary is "to-do" list item No. 1 for the Patriots. He notes the free agent status of Aqib Talib, Kyle Arrington and Patrick Chung as considerations for the group.
4. Dennard trial update. The trial for Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was initially scheduled to last until Friday at the latest, but it appears a decision on charges against the former University of Nebraska standout won't be made until sometime next week. Lorenzo Dennard, Alfonzo's twin, testified in court on Friday that his brother did not punch a cop during the April 21, 2012 incident.
5. La Canfora -- Vollmer an outshot shot for franchise tag. In an article that breaks down NFL teams into three categories when it comes to the franchise tag -- "will use it", "might use it", "won't use it" -- Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com puts the Patriots into the middle class. La Canfora focuses on Sebastian Vollmer. "I don't see it happening, but maybe tagging Sebastian Vollmer ends up making some sense for Bill Belichick," he writes. "He has some freakish talent and is the only hanging chad, if you will, on this offensive line. The Patriots could make it happen under their cap if need be, knowing they have all summer to get a long-term deal done and eventually open up more cap space."