Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker is expected to be hit with the franchise tag sometime before the Monday afternoon deadline, according to Boston.com. The league has not officially announced the franchise numbers for 2012, but the receiver position is expected to be set at approximately $9.4 million. (The franchise tag deadline is Monday at 3:59 p.m., and free agency begins on March 13.)

Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has been approached by the team about possibly "restructuring his contract," according to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal. Ochocinco, who caught 15 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown in his first season with the Patriots, signed a a three-year, $11.5 million contract on August, a deal that features base salaries of $3 million in 2012 and 2013.

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INDIANAPOLIS -- At league events like the annual NFL scouting combine, the Patriots love operating in the shadows.



INDIANAPOLIS -- The Patriots are likely going to use the franchise tag on wide receiver Wes Welker if they cannot reach a new deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Quoting a league source, Schefter says that the two sides have been discussing a deal, but will hit Welker with the franchise tag before the March 5 deadline if needed. The cost would be roughly $9.4 million for a one-year contract while the two sides continued to discuss a long-term pact for the 30-year-old receiver.

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Patriots have to get younger at wider receiver. They haven’t been able to develop a consistent young presence at the position in a decade. So what does New England do this offseason?



In his first post-Super Bowl interview, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski addressed the flap that has arisen over the infamous shots of him dancing at a postgame party after the loss to the Giants.

Speaking on 97.5 The Fan in Philadelphia, Gronkowski talked about the images of him jumping around on ankle that limited him in the game and would later require surgery.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Andre Carter's agent, Carl Poston, indicated Friday morning that the defensive end is "ahead of schedule" on his rehab, and he has already held preliminary discussions with the Patriots about a possible return to New England in 2012.

Carter had a team-high 22 quarterback pressures and 10 sacks in 14 games before going down with a season-ending quad injury in December. He was on a one-year deal with the Patriots, but it certainly appears that the 32-year-old is open to returning next season.

INDIANAPOLIS -- When it came to their front seven, the Patriots showed multiple defensive looks last season, shuffling between a three-man front and a four-man front depending on personnel and opponent.



INDIANAPOLIS -- For a guy who’s given to making bold statements, Jets coach Rex Ryan may have made his most interesting one yet on Thursday at the NFL scouting combine: no Super Bowl guarantee this year.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was asked about the impending free agency of wide receiver Wes Welker, and said that the team is “going through the process” when it comes to Welker and the rest of New England’s free agents.