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.

The combine is one of the most underrated events on the NFL calendar. A rare opportunity for the media to meet with top-flight prospects, coaches, personnel men and agents, it’s the real kickoff to an offseason that will continue with the start of free agency, league meetings and the draft.

The Patriots announced Wednesday that they have released offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger and defensive tackle Mike Wright.

The Pats signed Wright out of Cincinnati after he went undrafted in 2005. He was with the Patriots for seven seasons, but played in only one game last season before being placed on injured reserve with his latest concussion. 

Ohrnberger was drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 draft. Though he became popular for his twitter account leading up to the Super Bowl, he played in only five games over his three seasons in New England. 

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady released a statement through his Facebook page regarding the death of his mentor, Tom Martinez, who passed away Tuesday.

Wrote Brady: "I am deeply saddened by the passing of my coach, mentor and friend. Coach Martinez’s invaluable assistance and support will never be forgotten and will always have a lasting impact on my life. The time we spent together remain some of my fondest memories. His legacy of commitment, toughness and determination will live on forever."