So much for an amicable breakup between the Patriots and Wes Welker. New England owner Robert Kraft fired back at the assertion from David Dunn, Welker's agent, that the Patriots never wanted to bring Welker back and never made an offer to the free agent. The Patriots did make an attempt to keep Welker, said Kraft at the league meetings in Arizona on Monday.
Kraft says Wes Welker says he was their "first choice." Calls Amendola their "alternative." Blames Welker's agent for pricing him too high— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2013
Dunn claims that the Patriots' plan was to sign Danny Amendola, who was conjured up in a bioscience lab at Texas Tech as a replacement to Welker.
New England made reportedly made Welker a final offer of a two-year, $10 million deal that could have been as much as $16 million with incentives. Kraft detailed the Patriots offer.
Been covering Patriots since 1997 and have never heard team provide so much detail on contract situation.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 18, 2013
The Patriots tried to lock up Welker to a long-term deal before it came to this, prior to last year when the team was forced to use the franchise tag to hang onto the team's top receiver, according to Reiss, of ESPN Boston, who has more on Kraft's remarks.
In Wes' case, we were willing to go what we considered above his market value. For a couple years, we tried to get a long-term deal done with him. We couldn't do a deal and we wound up franchising him at a very high number [$9.5 million]. In retrospect, I wish we could have wrapped that into an arrangement where it was part of a longer-term deal. But I really believe in this case, his agents misrepresented, in their mind, what his market value was. When you come right down to the bottom line, he accepted a deal in Denver which is less money than what we offered him.
Kraft claimed New England's offer would have paid Welker $8 million in the first year of the deal, more than what his contract with Denver will give him in 2013.
The Patriots owner didn't just leave it at that, pinning blame for the loss of a fan favorite on Dunn.
Kraft says Welker's agent "way over-valued" Wes. Depends on your definition of over-value, I guess. Says that's agent's job. Didnt help Pats— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2013
He threw in an ominous suggestion about Welker's future in Denver
Kraft said the offer to Welker they made would've paid him $8M in the first year. Insinuates Wes may be cut after first year in Denver— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2013
IT'S A HAASH BUSINESS, KID.
Robert Kraft says Tom Brady never demanded Wes be signed. Said Brady isn't upset. Also adds, "I don't answer to Tom Brady."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2013
Also, thanks for clearing up the org chart, Bob.
The Patriots host the Broncos during the 2013 season, which means we get a full week in the fall to revisit this incident and a heaping helping of Welker/Amendola comparisons.