Kraft insists Welker first choice, but agent missed mark


The Patriots rarely have been accused of offering too much information.

But owner Robert Kraft just went into an eye-opening amount of detail on the team’s negotiations with wide receiver Wes Welker, emphasizing that keeping Welker was the team’s first choice before the wide receiver went to Denver.

“You know, everyone in our organization wanted Wes Welker back,” Kraft said, via Mike Reiss of “Anyone who doubts that, or thinks we weren’t serious, just doesn’t get it. I’ve owned the team 19 years and I’ve known in the end we have to have certain limits and restraints. Like I’ve said many times, I really wanted Wes to be with us through the rest of his career, but it takes two sides to do a deal. . . .

“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. 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.

“So in fact, our offer was better than what in fact he got from Denver. 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 also referred to Danny Amendola as “our second alternative,” which should make Amendola feel very welcome in New England.

But the level of detail he went into on the Welker deal shows how emotional the discussion became, and perhaps how close he came to crossing that line where football becomes personal.

65 responses to “Kraft insists Welker first choice, but agent missed mark

  1. I’ll give Kraft the benefit of the doubt simply because he was the man essentially responsible for leading the final negotiations that ended the lock-out.

  2. Dunn is a clown. He turned down several more lucrative offers, having to settle for 2/$12M because he misread the market.
    Wes might as well have hired Master P.

  3. Maybe Welker wanted to prove he’s not just a by-product of the Patriots system. Although going to play with Manning won’t necessarily dispel those rumors considering Manning has made average receivers and TEs look great throughout his career as well

  4. Just want to let folks around the nation know that Patriot fans are STILL furious over losing Welker. Sports talk in Boston is still all Welker all the time. Fans are very angry Welker got nickel and dimed by the Patriots.

    This is NE Patriot/Robert Kraft damage control.

    There is NO WAY the Patriots offered Welker $8 million the 1st year without that being heavily incentive laden, i.e. Welker must make 10 catches standing on his head while spitting wooden nickels.

    Lots of half truths being told.

  5. Mar 18, 2013 4:26 PM
    I’ll give Kraft the benefit of the doubt simply because he was the man essentially responsible for leading the final negotiations that ended the lock-out.
    I dont really give Kraft the benefit of the doubt considering how often he’s let “franchise” type players go in the past, even when saying publicly his goal was to retain them.

  6. Kraft has to say something because Patriot fans love Wes Welker. But I have to believe that if the owner of the Patriots really wanted Welker to remain a Patriot, Welker would be a Patriot today.

  7. The idea that the patriots could have got wes for 12mil is just plain WRONG , he obviously wanted more and after 2 years of negotiations , he said screw you to the pats and took the offer that would hurt the patriots the most , playing with Peyton manning . As a pats fan i don’t blame them for playing hard ball with 32 year old 5’9 180 lb slot receiver with allot of hits on his frame .

  8. Amendola and Donald Jones won’t do it. Need a WR that has the intimidating factor of burning buy CBs. I hope they get one.

  9. As the interview said, once free agency started and Welker wanted to speak to other teams, the Patriots went to plan B. According to everythng that has been said Amendola is not Welker’s replacement but part of the puzzle as the Patriots are retooling their offense which has fizzled in some key games. Hernandez is going to be in the slot alot with Gronk and Ballard on the field this year.

    Best part of interview when Kraft was asked if he had spoken to TB or felt compelled to, Kraft said “I don’t answer to Tom Brady. He’s an important member of our team and we’ve chatted”.

  10. If Welker was option #1, why did you sign Amendola a full day earlier (Tuesday) than when your negotiations broke down with Welker (Wednesday)?

    Sounds to me like you offered the same contract to Amendola, Welker, and Jennings ($6 mil) and the first one to bite was Amendola.

  11. Why would Kraft put information out there that Wes could easily refute? I give him the benefit of the doubt, but it’ll be interesting to see what Welkah’s response is.

    And not all of us are THAT upset. I think the Amendola/Washington thing will work out fine, but yes, in the end, it’s a band-aided cut that could have been avoided if the agreement with Wes just worked out.

  12. Im a Pats fan and i love this move. We had to get over the hump eventually, and Welker just keeps getting older. Amendola is a better player now than Welker was when we traded for him.

    This isnt going to be the same Pats offense though… so Amendola will fill that void just fine.

  13. wludford says:

    If Amendola was the 2nd alternative, why did the Patriots offer Jennings $6m/year ?


    It was reported that Jennings didn’t get an offer sheet from the Pats.

  14. Time to move on from Wes. NE did everything with him but win it all. Their explosive offenses went cold in championship games. That’s not a coincidence.

  15. Non Patriot fans don’t care what the excuse was for not keeping Wes. I would be surprised if Tom wanted him to leave. He was his security blanket when things were not going well. Interesting to see if Amendola turns out as well as Wes did. He’s in a perfect place now with Peyton.

  16. Kraft’s comments, on their face, make no sense whatsoever. He is basically saying Welker took less money to play for another team.

    There is no way that is true. New England’s offer must have been so loaded with incentive clauses that it’s actual value was lower. It’s the only explanation that makes sense.

    Also, I think the entire statement is unseemly and beneath someone like Robert Kraft. How about “we had a difference of opinion on what the contract should look like and couldn’t reach a deal” Period.

  17. Hard to believe some people are so dumb they think Amendola can replace Welker. Welker averaged over 100 receptions per year over the last 6 years. Nobody has done that before, not even Jerry Rice.

    I actually feel sorry for Amendola, because Patriot fans are not going to let him forget that he is no Wes Welker.

  18. I think TB12 can replicate what he did with Welker with either Amendola or even Edelman if he comes back….

    Still need a deep threat- Donald Jones won’t cut it.

    I say sign Darius Heyward-Bay… It wasn’t his fault he was picked so high by a dysfunctional organization while having the likes of Tuiasosopo and Palmer throwing to him.

    TB12 can make Heyward-Bay a threat, Torrey Smith kind of threat (not to that level but close.)

  19. In that article Kraft comments on what we Pats fans know. Early on in his ownership he allowed personal emotions for players dictate contracts (Law, Bledsoe). It was a fiscal disaster. He learned from it.

    I also like how he said he doesn’t answer to TB. No owner should ever answer to any player. Take their input and use it to help make decisions? Sure. And he’s proven to be a great contributor to making tough deals while compromising with players such as the CBA. But the buck stops at the boss as it should so he should be the one deciding how to run the team so that it maintains success. Sure he said he wished WW could retire a Patriot (most of us Pats fans that I know of concur), but he never promised that.

    Mike Reiss, one of the best Pats reporters out there (he has no agenda) had said earlier that the WW thing was mostly agent faux pas. I believed him, because he had a lot of facts to back him up and I believe Kraft also. Though I wish Kraft hadn’t said that about DA…ouch.

    Again I will point out that the Pats offered him 16 mill guaranteed last year before they tagged him. Including last year when he played at 9.5 mill, had he just taken the 16 mill over 12-13, he would have ended up making 16 mil guaranteed and now the most he will make for 12-13 is 15.5 mil.

  20. vcupats says: Mar 18, 2013 4:42 PM

    Time to move on from Wes. NE did everything with him but win it all. Their explosive offenses went cold in championship games. That’s not a coincidence.

    Are you so dumb you think it’s all Welkers fault?

  21. What it sounds like to me is pre FA welker’s agent was asking way too much in negotiations with the pats who thought his market value was much different than his agent did. the pats made their offer(s) and welker (or agent) refused and chose to test free agency which is fine. But it turns out his market value was not so high as his agent was pushing and by the time he went back to the pats to match the broncos offer on weds it was too late the pats had already signed Danny amendola at that point.

  22. wludford says: Mar 18, 2013 4:34 PM

    If Amendola was the 2nd alternative, why did the Patriots offer Jennings $6m/year ?
    That proposal was never made, according to Adam Schefter.

  23. Sounds like Welker has short man disease. It not enough that he was offered more money in NE; he wanted the team to come back hat in hand and basically lay down at his feet and say, “please Wes, please come back we appreciate you so much”………

    Its totally an an ego issue with him. He may be a great receiver in Denver and catch a bunch of T D’s but he’ll still be 5’9.

  24. If the Pats can snatch up Brandon Stokely they’ll be getting similar talent:

    1. For a fraction of the cost
    2. With no drop passes
    3. No loudmouth during playoffs
    4. A wife with no twitter account.

    Mr. Kraft, you’re welcome.

  25. Ted Thompson could say the exact same thing about Greg Jennings – that GB offered him more money months ago, that his agent completely misrepresented or at least grossly misinterpreted what the market would be – but Ted Thompson doesn’t talk… about ANYTHING.

  26. Pats fans have been bamboozled by Kraft for a long time during the Bellicheck/Brady era and have been very fortunate not have to answer the really hard questions that most teams have had to deal with regularly. When those two are gone, you will realize what Kraft is really about. This is the guy that flirted with Hartford, remember?

  27. Umm Welker got more money from the Bronco’s and he is on a team with just as much talent at the QB position, and even more talent as a whole than the Pats…

    The only people that missed the mark here was the Pats.

  28. Patriots never offered Greg Jennings a deal, according to the NFL

    No need to doubt that Kraft wanted Welker back, because the assumption is that it would be at or near the appropriate market rate.

    The only obvious fact in all of this is that Welker’s agent did him a huge disservice. Welker may have had an inflated idea of what he was worth, but it’s the agent’s job to know what the market is before advising his client.

    Aside from the Titans, there were no teams lining up for Welker’s services and Welker himself said he had to pitch himself to the Broncos to make the deal happen. So the Patriots neither low-balled him or made him a laughable offer.

  29. timing is everything

    Wes wanted more, was convinced he would find more and tuen down the Pats last offer,

    then Wes found only lesser offers, the best being from Denver, but by that time the Pats had already signed Amendola and could offer even less still.

    It’s a risk that Wes and his agent decided to take, unfortunately for both sides IMO.

  30. jetsjetsjetsnow says:Mar 18, 2013 4:56 PM

    How can you trust anything this Franchise says? To quote Al Franken “Lies and the Lying Liers Who Tell Them”.


    This coming from a fan of a franchise that cheats and lies and still cant win. The Jets can’t even cheat right.

  31. More often that not, replacing a guy with someone that’s bigger, faster, more versatile and 4.5 years younger is considered a good thing.
    Welker’s career had been no more successful than Amendola’s when he was traded to N.E. in ’07. Less successful, actually.

  32. Kraft is saying welker was offered $10 million guaranteed and $8 million the first year. That sounds like only $2 million guaranteed in year 2 with the possibility of $6 million more in incentives. We don’t know what the incentives were but if it was 110 catches this year welker would be at risk of being totally screwed next year if he ONLY got, say 100 catches

  33. I think Welker feels that Denver is actually closer to winning a superbowl than New England.
    They’ve loaded up whileNew England has lost some pieces.

  34. Bob Kraft is a snakeoil salesman from way back. He has fooled people and players for the longest time about his sincerity and it’s all a croc.

  35. Amendola was the Patriots’ fall back choice and now he knows it. I like Kraft and I’m a Pats fan but the need for positive PR trumped common sense in this case. John Henry told the world he didn’t want Carl Crawford on the Red Sox and it killed Crawford. He wanted out of town when Henry talked publicly about his contract. I hope Amendola is a little more mature and thick skinned than Crawford and doesn’t let his owners’ saying he was the second choice affect his game.

  36. I negotiate for a living. I learned a long time a good deal has to work for both sides. I also learned that you need to be able to trust the other side to negotiate in good faith. The agent not only misjudged the market he did not accept reality. He played poker; worse, he played a game of chicken and the Patriots didn’t blink. He thought that after getting the franchise money in 2012 that he was starting anew. The Patriots, having been played into the franchise as a way to protect their roster in the prior year, were not going to overpay. The start of free agency did not create leverage for Dunne, it pushed his player of a cliff. Based on my experience, the Patriots did what I would have done in their position.

  37. Patriots lost on this. Amendola who? I didn’t know Wes in Miami because he had a shotty QB. Bradford was throwing to Amendola and had SJ carrying the load and Amendola who?

  38. Emmanuel Sanders – you better think twice before signing an offer that will force you into contract negotiations with the Pats in a couple of years. Kraft and Belichick – these guys will seriously mess with your mind, and then come out publicly and blame it all on you – like Kraft is doing to Welker right now.

  39. Bullcharger, the Jeta cheated you and the Pats out of Hall Of Famer Curtis Martin. + one for the Jets.

  40. To all those out there that think Kraft isn’t the best owner in the NFL, you have no clue. He’s the best because he knows its a business and he’s not a fan boy who makes decisions with his heart ( used to but learned quickly). Since he bought the team, guess who has the highest winning percentage in the NFL? And it’s not even close

  41. Although there will be comparisons between Welker and Amendola the rest of their careers its almost impossible to do logically. Yes, Amendola has had more success than welker did before he got to Foxboro, but Welker got there just about the time Brady was coming into his prime. Amendola is going to be there for tail end of Brady’s career. But don’t sell him short…I’ve seen this guy make some incredible catches. Now he’ll be catching passes from a more accurate QB than Bradford, and he should be able to roam a lot more freely there with all the other weapons this offense has. I think it was good shrewd move and once he is in sync with Brady it’ll lessen the pain from losing Welker.

  42. Emanuel Sanders,

    Listen to the Steeler Toadie whose team put the low ball tender on you and now knows his team is about to lose you and many games this season.

  43. Welker’s agent screwed this up. Wes was offered a good contract last year and his agents said he could make more. Wes went to the market and it showed his agents were wrong. Good move by the Patriots. And just because the sport’s radio hosts are mad Welker is gone doesn’t mean all the fans are mad. We are Patriot fans first and foremost.

  44. You pepole speculating what was on the table for incentives, etc. are just talking out your butt. You have no idea what was offered. That’s what they do on sports radio around here. Those are the only Pats fans that are furious tim2200, the rest of us are disappointed. The media wants to blame it on the Pats, but it’s 98% Dunn’s fault. When FA hit at 4pm Tues, and Dunn was still asking for 3 yrs @24 mil, the Pats had to move on.

    Welker didn’t take less money to go to Denv, eatitfans, Denv and Tenn was all he had when they lost their game of chicken.

    Very nice, rpiotrol, TThompson doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t own the team and have to listen to the media try to spin it like he cheaped out. BB hasn’t said anything either.

    Still, the Pats have work to do. They’ve lost Welker, Edelman, Lloyd andBranch. They’ve only signed Amendola and Jones(Washington and Woodhead are a wash).

    Max, that will be a good point if Denver beats the Pats…maybe someday.

  45. This is ALL the agent’s fault. Where was he during the “legal tampering” period. He should have known by Tuesday morning that they had vastly overestimated the market. That morning he should have been telling Wes that, and making it clearly that the Pats deal was in the ball park of what was out there. He should have explained in MIGHT get a few dollars more if he waits, but not enough to make a move to another city.

    Another problem was just an accident of time. Unlike Dunn, the team was busy in the 3 days before FA. They found out by Tuesday that there was a very competitive market for Amendola. They knew his price point and knew that if they waited more than a day, he’d be gone, and the Pats were looking at a prospect of being without BOTH plan A and plan B.

    So by the time reality hit Dunn and Welker square in the face, the Pats had been forced by the market to move on. The whole thing was sad, unfortunate, and totally unnecessary if the agent had done his job during the “legal tampering” period.

  46. Welker ended up signing a deal for far less than he thought he was worth (about $8+ million a year). So that alone should tell you that the Agent far overvalued his client.

  47. Amendola must feel great knowing he was the table scraps. But then working for Kraft he was going to find that out soon enough. I’m glad Welker hit the road and taught both BB and Crafty a lesson.

  48. Anyone who knows anything about football knows that Amendola replaced Lloyd – not Welker.

    Welker’s role as the 5′ 9″ 186 lb slot receiver will effectively be taken over by the 6′ 1″ 245 lb Aaron Hernandez, who has more speed than Welker and nearly as much agility – so that’s not a concern

    Belichick has likely been planning that since he stole Ballard from the Giants. Having three guys like that on the field means the middle is WELL covered.

    Who’s the Deep threat? We’ll see – but in the worst case scenario they had none last year and still had a pretty good record.

    If anyone doesn’t think Brady isn’t going to be among the NFL leaders in yards and points scored they are seriously delusional

  49. I’m sorry, but if these comments don’t set off your bs meter nothing will. He says he was the first choice, yet committed a LOT more money/years to a wr who essentially plays the same position when Amendola isn’t more accomplished, more durable, and you don’t know if will play as well in the same system. That doesn’t make sense. If he was your first choice, it would stand to reason that you’d hold him in at least the same per year value, if not length which is understandable. In the NFL, the only money that a player can count on is guaranteed money or first year base salary. To say you offered more when you’re counting on him reaching all the incentives is ludicrous. For all Welker knows, he count get injured day one. Kraft also never says what the incentives are, and also doesn’t acknowledge that BB had been altering the offense to go away from him and towards the TEs prior to their injury problems. That not only makes it significantly less likely that Welker hits the numbers that he had in the past, but also hurts his future earnings potential.

    Kraft should have just either said nothing or manned up and just said, “We like Amendola, think he’s going to be a great fit here, and wish Welker the best.” Instead he decided to burn a bridge and throw their new WR under the bus.

  50. Seems like everyone beating up the Pats is forgetting that Welker was originally an undrafted free agent who didn’t get paid very much by the Fins and that only the Pats saw the genius in Welker’s play.

    The Pats and Brady then made Welker both a star and quite wealthy, something on the order of 20+ million dollars wealthy which had he stayed with the Fins, their crap QBs and crap coaches at the time would not likely have become either a star or any where near as wealthy.

    So eat that and keep crying. Welker has nothing to complain about as far as te Pats are concerned. Nothimg.

    And Manning could barely throw by the end of last season with his neck problems. Remember those kneel downs in the playoffs? Mannin is one good hard hit to the head or crushing sack that he lands the wrong way on from retirement. Welker will do well there but I bet his catches go down by about 20-30 and he never again hits the level of success he had with the Pats.

  51. Without a quality deep threat WR which the Pats haven’t had since Moss got hurt in 2007, they have NO chance at another SB. All the rest is just useless.

  52. Let’s see how well Welker does in Denver. Brady mostly threw the ball to Welker where he caught the ball, and took most of his hits RAC. Manning has a history of throwing into a tight coverage window, and his receivers get creamed while making the catch. Let’s see how the season goes. As far as the contract negotiations, blame his agent.

  53. A couple people made this point but I will agree and just say that if an owner such a Robert Class really wanted Wes Welker, then I find it hard to believe he would of been there. It just seems o me that this is a relationship that was ruined during the season. There was no reason not to start Welker in the beginning of the season but the patriots made him 2nd string and when you do something like that to someone that has been with you for awhile, then you can’t just forget it and move on like everything is fine.. All I know is I praying for a broncos @ patriots AFC championship game

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