Wes Welker‘s representatives released a statement to NFL.com early Tuesday responding to criticism from Patriots owner Robert Kraft and claimed the team showed no willingness to move from its one and only offer to Welker before the receiver accepted a deal from the Broncos.
“Both sides are clear that the Patriots made one offer to Wes Welker since the prior negotiations ended in July 2012,” read the statement from Athletes First. “Both sides also agree that this two-year offer came just hours before the start of free agency despite discussions that began at the NFL combine. Moreover, this lone offer was presented as a ‘take it or leave it offer.’ When we asked if there was room for structural changes, we were told no. We made a counter offer for the same term and same maximum dollar amount as their offer and it was rejected. We inquired if any of the offer’s components were negotiable and were told no. This refusal to actually negotiate made it easy to reject the Patriots offer. Nevertheless, when we received the Denver Broncos’ offer, Wes personally talked to Mr. Kraft to give the Patriots the opportunity to match it. The Patriots rejected this opportunity and Wes signed with the Denver Broncos.”
On Monday, Kraft spoke at the league meetings in Phoenix and insisted the Patriots wanted to keep Welker, despite the apparent lack of effort to do so.
“Wes Welker, just to be very clear, was our first choice to be with the team,” Kraft said. “When free agency came, and his agents kept on insisting on a very high number that was beyond our number, we had to go work alternatives.”
Added Kraft: “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 that is less money than what we offered him.”
Welker agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with the Broncos, while the Patriots offered two years and $10 million, although incentives could have pushed the value to $16 million.
Kraft claimed Welker accepted less guaranteed money from the Broncos, and by the time the receiver presented the team with Denver’s offer, the Patriots already had moved on to Danny Amendola. Otherwise, Kraft said the team would have been willing to meet that price.
“If he had called one day earlier, he would have been with us,” Kraft said. “I’m very sad about it and I wish he would have been with our team.”
Added Kraft: “We wanted him, and we were willing to pay him slightly above what we believed his market value to be, and in fact, what it is. We in fact did it. If you look at what he accepted, and what was out there. The unfortunate part, the agent is playing poker with us, we have to decide: Are we going to be left completely naked here? Or do we go out and do the best job we can do to fill that position with the information we have available to us? And that’s what we did. Time will tell what was right.”
Welker’s representatives, while calling Kraft “an exceptional NFL owner,” disputed his assertion that the team was willing to adjust its offer.
“Despite Mr. Kraft’s impression to the contrary, the Patriots representatives who participated in these phone calls never indicated that the team ‘would have even gone up’ on their offer, or that these discussions occurred ‘before we thought we were going into free agency,’” the Athletes First statement read. “Instead, the Patriots made it abundantly clear that their one offer was non-negotiable. Athletes First has no issue with this approach and casts no blame on either side for a deal not being consummated. However, we believe it is important that the negotiations are accurately portrayed in the media.”
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price explain how the Patriots held off the Jets, 17-16, Sunday at MetLife Stadium to improve to 12-3 and lock up a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.
Greg and Steve give their final thoughts and predictions for what is about to go down at MetLife Stadium today.
Curran calls the guys to discuss the game today and gets into the effect of having no Edelman. He talks about Amendola's role, the Pats running game and more.
Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks with MFB about Rondo being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and how this will have an effect on the Celtics rebuild process
How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...
Sam and Ben talk with Greg Dickerson about how fun this year's Celtics team is to watch as well Jeff Green trade ideas.
Mut, Rob, and Alex talk with former Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. Jon talks about his experiences with free agency, what it would have taken to sign him to the Red Sox last season, and his experiences with fans since signing with the Cubs.
Mut, Rob, and Alex talk with newly signed Red Sox pitcher, Wade Miley. They talk about the story that came out about the D-Backs wanting him to switch to a gluten-free diet, and what he expects coming from the N.L. West to the A.L. East.
The boys are back at it, Mut, Rob, and Alex talk with former Red Sox pitcher and new Chicago Cub Jon Lester, they then talk with new Red Sox pitcher and ongoing consumer of gluten, Wade Miley.
Pierre joins the show to talk about the Bruins-Wild game, Bruins trade rumors, and the rest of the NHL.
Jack Edwards talks with Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton and drops the bomb on us that based on how the standings look now, the Bruins could miss the playoffs this season.
Pierre joins the guys to talk about the Bruins and all things NHL
Tom joined the show to discuss the close win over the Jets and Rex Ryan's comments.
Tim Hasselbeck on week 16 in the NFL.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Christian quizzes Lou and Tim on which songs were used for torture by the CIA, and Tim is upset he couldn't remember Team America: World Police
Adam Schefter, ESPN, joins MFB to discuss Jim Harbaugh rumors, Rex Ryan's future, and why the Patriots may be better served by not wraping up the number one seed in the AFC this week
Christian shares what he believes will be the three keys to this Sunday's game against the New York Jets
We check in with the playmaker, the hall of famer Michael Irvin for a look at the NFL and all things Patriots as they prepare to face the Jets.
Dale and Michael discuss the trade of Rajon Rondo, and whether it ultimately was a good deal for the Celtics.
We break down Rex and the Jets vs the Patriots with CSNNE's Tom E Curran
Kay comes into the show to try out for the textress role on the program. We learn about her favorite sports and fondness for Rajon Rondo.
Mikey, Mut, Lenny and Kerry Byrne are taling Patriots-Jets and the potential end of Rex Ryan's coaching career with the team.
Tonight marks 9 straight years of the Planet Mikey Show. We play some sound from the takeover which got Planet Mikey rolling .
Jen Royle joins the show to talk about The Taste and what its like working with amazing chefs and how her personality is going over with viewers.
What should Danny Ainge do with these Celtics? Is Anthony Davis the second best player in the NBA? Are the Warriors truly contenders?
Ryan Lambert of Puck Daddy joins DJ to discuss the "uncoachable(?)" Taylor Hall and revisit the Tyler Seguin trade. Ryan also shares his issues with how the Bruins are run.
Twas the Saturday before Christmas, Rooke and Scott Cordischi in the house taking your calls, texts tweets and emails (not so much). Listeners sound off on the week's best topics. An annual RI DIV I Tourney, Mr Rondo goes to Dallas and celebrating the plethora of Christmas tunesMore from this show