First, let’s get this out of the way: Danny Woodhead is no Kevin Faulk.

While Tom Brady‘s restructured contract appeared to clear the way for the Patriots to re-sign Wes Welker, the negotiations are not expected to be easy — and not just for monetary reasons.

Five (mostly) Patriots-related thoughts as the NFL’s tagging period came to an end Monday afternoon:

The deadline for the franchise tag came and went Monday afternoon without the Patriots using it on any one of their available players, which means wide receiver Wes Welker, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and cornerback Aqib Talib — New England’s top three possibilities to be tagged — have between now and March 12 (the start of free agency) to work out a new deal with the Patriots or hit the open market.

On “NFL AM” Monday morning on the NFL Network, Ravens cornerback Ed Reed — who is set to hit free agency later this month — was asked about his feelings for Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

The Patriots on Monday announced that they have released offensive lineman Kyle Hix and fullback Spencer Larsen.

Hix, 24, spent the last two seasons on injured reserve. The 6-foot-7, 315-pounder originally joined the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Texas in 2011.

Larsen, 28, joined the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent from Denver on March 30, 2012. He spent last season on injured reserve with a knee injury.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the impetus for Tom Brady‘s new three-year, $27 million contract was the fact that Kraft did not want Brady to finish his career elsewhere, he told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.

The NFL is a league full of copycats, and so when a read option team managed to make it all the way to the Super Bowl, the rest of the league stood up and took notice.


NFL Network analyst Heath Evans joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to defend Tom Brady against critics of the quarterback’s new contract and call out Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs for being “an absolute fool” in his latest attack on the Patriots.

Brady generally has received high praise for his restructured contract, although there is a faction that is critical of him for setting the contractual bar lower. Some Boston media members sounded off on Brady on a local TV show Wednesday.