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“Progress” reported on Welker deal as tag deadline looms

55th Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (R) greets NFL player Wes Welker prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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As the clock ticks toward this afternoon’s franchise tag deadline, the Patriots have yet to declare their intentions.

But they may be approaching another key piece of business.

According to Tom Curran of, “progress has been made” on a new contract for wide receiver Wes Welker.

Tagging Welker again would have been difficult, as it would have cost them $11.5 million for another year, but until the deadline, it exists as a possibility, which lends a little heat to any negotiation.

A long-term deal for the veteran wideout leaves open the possibility of using the tag on either right tackle Sebastian Vollmer or cornerback Aqib Talib, though neither appears a certainty.

As it pertains to Welker, “progress” is a nebulous term, but the salary cap relief offered by Tom Brady’s deal certainly makes it easier to accomplish.