When wide receiver Wes Welker left the New England Patriots for the Denver Broncos last week, he said it was because he wanted to win. His agent, David Dunn, says it was because of another reason, according to Tom E. Curran of CSN. Dunn claims the Patriots didn't want Welker.
Obviously, the "I want to win" line from Welker is a bit odd. Sure, the Broncos had a great year in 2012, finishing the regular season with the AFC's best record. But it's not like the Patriots have been cellar dwellers in recent memory. New England has reached the playoffs in 10 of the last 12 seasons, and the Patriots advanced further than the Broncos in last year's playoffs.
If Dunn's assertion is correct, and the Patriots really didn't try to bring the wide receiver back, Welker's comment could have been a dig at his old team. That may be the only way it makes sense.
The last offer to Welker from the Patriots, per Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, was for two years and $10 million, with an extra $6 million in incentives. However, Dunn told Curran that offer was never made:
No offer was ever made, Dunn contends. Period.
If that were the case, there was no two-year, $10 million offer plus incentives that could have pumped the deal up to $16 million.
Welker signed a two-year deal with Denver worth a guaranteed $12 million. That's a little more guaranteed money than the offer New England had reportedly extended the eight-year veteran, but considering Welker's time with the Patriots, one would think he may have given them a home-team discount. Those details make it seem more likely that Dunn's opinion of the situation is correct: The Pats never really had intentions to re-sign Welker.
Instead, New England inked a deal with free agent wide receiver Danny Amendola. Once Welker signed with the Broncos, the Patriots and Amendola reached a five-year deal worth $31 million, with $10 million guaranteed. Amendola is four years younger than Welker, and it appears as if the Pats may have been planning to bring in Amendola for some time. Dunn would agree with that statement:
Amendola was the plan all along, he believes.
In the end, no one really loses in this situation. Welker gets to play with Peyton Manning, perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time, the Patriots get a younger upgrade at slot wide receiver and Amendola jumps to a perennial contender from a St. Louis Rams team that was 17-46-1 during his four years with the franchise.
No matter what actually happened, it's time for everyone to move forward.