Patriots president Jonathan Kraft says Wes Welker could have stayed in New England and made more money than he’s making in Denver, if his agent hadn’t pushed him to test the market.
Kraft said that before Welker hit free agency last year, the Patriots made Welker a good offer that Welker’s agent declined. And it was only when Welker wouldn’t play ball that the Patriots decided to turn their attention to Danny Amendola.
“We still offered Wes before free agency started, more than he ended up getting in the open market,” Kraft said, via the Boston Globe. “But once free agency started, we went out and signed Danny because he fit a construct that worked within our system, and we couldn’t take the risk of losing both Wes and Danny. So it really wasn’t as much about the money, it was about trying to do a deal with Wes before free agency started. His agent had a view of the world that we didn’t think was realistic.”
Welker is now heading into the second year of a two-year, $12 million contract with the Broncos, after making $9.5 million on the franchise tag in his final year in New England. Kraft said that if Welker had eschewed the franchise tender and accepted the deal the Patriots were offering him at the time, he would have made more money.
“We had actually offered Wes a deal the summer before that on a three-year basis would’ve left him in a financially better place than what he’s gonna end up having been in over those three years. But we were willing to do that at a certain time when his production was at a certain level, his age was at a certain level, and he was performing as a player. When we went another year into the process, we still in our head had a value that we were able to place on the player. The player and his agent thought that their value in the open market was going to be greater,” Kraft said.
Welker may have overestimated his value on the free market. But the Patriots also may have underestimated his value to them: Their passing game missed Welker last season.