BOSTON (CBS) – NFL Free Agency is underway, and the Patriots are reportedly the favorites to land receiver Josh Cribbs.

Just don’t expect him to replace Wes Welker — if it comes down to that.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Patriots have an edge over the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals to land the kick-returner/receiver.

UPDATE, 5:21 p.m.: News changes quickly in free agency, as Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reports the Cardinals appear to be Cribbs’ preferred destination.

Follow: NFL Free Agency Tracker

Cribbs set career highs in 2011 with 41 receptions, 518 yards and four touchdowns, but struggled in 2012. He had just seven receptions for 63 yards last season, and just 107 catches, 1,161 yards and seven touchdowns for his career – or in other words a season’s worth of work for Welker.

Report: Patriots Haven’t Made Offer To Welker

Where Cribbs has made a name for himself is a spot the Patriots need some serious help in: the kicking game. The 29-year-old has returned eight kickoffs and three punts for touchdowns in his seven-year career.


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