According to CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman:
Several league sources said this is more than some remote possibility. This might actually be a probability and the team is seeing if Edelman could fit into Welker's shoes should the team trade him.
This is more the Patriots Way than a phasing out. A sort of stashing of Welker -- and by trading Welker, they would have total control of his destination city. The Patriots traded Randy Moss, and trading Welker before the Oct. 30 deadline would be very Bill Belichick.
Now that Aaron Hernandez is on the mend and the Patriots will soon be predominantly going back to their two-tight-end sets, Welker's role will likely start decreasing again—much like it was in the beginning of the season.
Julian Edelman has been taking many of Welker's snaps already this year, and he'll be much cheaper to re-sign next season than Welker.
If the Pats are looking to trade Welker, which teams are in need of his services?