Robert Kraft unloads on Wes Welker's agents
An impassioned Robert Kraft trained both barrels on the agents of Wes Welker and unloaded Monday afternoon at the NFL Owners Meetings. "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," said Kraft. "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." Welker is represented by Athletes First. David Dunn and Brian Murphy both had a hand in negotiating the deal. On Sunday, Dunn testified the Patriots never made Welker an offer. Last Tuesday, in the hours before free agency began, the agents insinuated they were waiting on the Patriots first offer. It's an assertion that's become laughable as the details of the Patriots offers to Welker -- and his camp's dissatisfaction with some of the incentives -- fly in the face of Dunn's claims. When I asked about Dunn's contention, Kraft grew angry. "Did you hear what I said? There was an offer, and that’s just bogus.” Asked why Dunn continues to allege there was no offer, Kraft answered, "I don’t know, you’ll have to ask him. You seem to have a good relationship talking with him, so why doesn’t he fill you in what he means? Because it just isn’t true.” Kraft said that Welker's reported two-year, $12 million deal has a high probability in being just a one-year, $6 million deal given the high cap number Welker will carry in 2014. "When you come right down to the bottom line, he accepted a deal in Denver which is less money than what we offered him," said Kraft. "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 . . . Just to clear up any misconception, we wanted Wes back.
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