Robert Kraft: Wes Welker’s agents messed up, he took less money with Broncos
The New England Patriots generally refrain from getting into specifics with anything involving player contracts or business, but owner Robert Kraft gave some uncharacteristic comments on Monday in an attempt to clear up the Wes Welker situation. Basically, Kraft was trying to explain to Patriots fans how their beloved slot receiver was lost over a seemingly reasonable two-year, $12 million offer.
In summary, Kraft feels that New England’s offer of two years, $10 million plus incentives is a better deal that the one Welker took from Denver.
“I really believe in this case, his agents misrepresented, in their mind, what his market value was,” Kraft told reporters, via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. “When you come right down to the bottom line, he accepted a deal in Denver which is less money than what we offered him. In fact, he has a one-year deal in Denver for $6 million. Our last offer, before we would have even gone up and before we thought we were going into free agency, was a $10 million offer with incentives that would have earned him another $6 million if he performed the way he had the previous two years.
“But in Denver, he’s going to count $4 million against the cap this coming year and $8 million the second year. There is no guarantee that he plays the second year there. He will get $6 million the first year. Our deal, he would have gotten $8 million the first year – our last offer to him.”
In other words, Kraft insists Welker would have been paid $8 million next season and could have earned another $8 million in the second season just by performing the way he has since coming to New England. Reiss previously stated that Welker’s camp thought the incentives were unattainable. Kraft’s comments could certainly be viewed as damage control, especially since the Patriots’ fan base is up in arms over the situation.
“So in fact, our offer was better than what in fact he got from Denver,” Kraft continued. “I’m just really sad about that. Everyone in our organization, including our head coach – I sat in a number of meetings, we discussed this very carefully. Just to clear up any misconception, we wanted Wes back.”
Kraft reiterated multiple times that it was Welker’s agents who screwed things up by insisting he was going to get such a lucrative deal on the open market — one the Patriots were unwilling to pay. Because of that, Kraft says, New England was forced to sign Danny Amendola rather than risking losing out on both players.
“If he had called one day earlier, he would have been with us,” he said. “And so that, is the Wes Welker story. I’m very sad about it and I wish he would have been with our team.”
Most people feel that the Patriots were simply being their stubborn selves in refusing to up their offer. Given their history with players like Deion Branch, Asante Samuel and Richard Seymour, that is certainly a strong possibility. Kraft is trying to pin the blame on Welker’s agents. Since there’s no actual proof of what unfolded, whether you choose to believe Kraft or not is a matter of personal opinion.
Oh and by the way, Danny Amendola — you’re nothing but a backup plan.