Wes Welker’s agents say Patriots offer was ‘take it or leave it’
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft tried to explain how the whole Wes Welker ordeal went down from the perspective of the team on Monday. Basically, Kraft blamed Welker’s agents. He said they misrepresented Welker by thinking he was going to get more on the open market than he was actually capable of getting, and that it was that line of reasoning that inspired the Patriots to move on Danny Amendola.
Not surprisingly, the agency that represents Welker claims that is not how the negotiations unfolded.
“Both sides are clear that the Patriots made one offer to Wes Welker since the prior negotiations ended in July 2012,” Athletes First wrote in a statement to NFL.com, which also praised Kraft for being a tremendous NFL owner. “Both sides also agree that this two-year offer came just hours before the start of free agency despite discussions that began at the NFL Combine. Moreover, this lone offer was presented as a ‘take it or leave it offer.’ When we asked if there was room for structural changes, we were told no.
“We made a counter-offer for the same term and same maximum dollar amount as their offer and it was rejected. We inquired if any of the offer’s components were negotiable and were told no. This refusal to actually negotiate made it easy to reject the Patriots offer. Nevertheless, when we received the Denver Broncos’ offer, Wes personally talked to Mr. Kraft to give the Patriots the opportunity to match it. The Patriots rejected this opportunity and Wes signed with the Denver Broncos.”
As Kraft said on Monday, he felt that incentives made New England’s offer better than Denver’s. However, there is some discrepancy over whether or not the incentives would have be reasonably attainable. Athlete’s First, while being quick to point out that it was not “blaming” anyone for what happened, said that the Patriots made it clear their offer was non-negotiable.
Time to move on. Personally, I believe both stories to an extent. The Patriots were likely stubborn with their initial offer and it sounds like Welker’s agents believed they were going to get far more than two years, $10 million with incentives. They did get more guaranteed money with the two-year, $12 million offer from the Broncos, but the Patriots had reportedly already secured Amendola by the time Welker came back with the Broncos’ offer. It sounds like the two sides were closer than they thought they were just before free agency began, which probably led to the divorce.