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.”
Head Coach Bill Belichick on Patriots Monday
We check in with safety Patrick Chung for a brief visit on Patriots Monday and discuss the win over Houston, and the upcoming game against the Bills.
Sam Packard is joined by Celtics 2nd Round draft pick Abdel Nader to discuss his path to the the NBA and how he plans to improve his game. Sam then talks to Player Development Coach Nick Friedman from Elite Skills Training, the pre-Draft camp Nader attended. Friedman also gives his opinion on the Celtics performance at summer league and the development of Jaylen Brown.
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
Danny Ainge joins Glenn and Christian to explain the Celtics draft process; and he also discusses the trade rumors that permeated the night.
Joe and Tim talked to the Sox catcher, who caught 23 strikeouts from Sox pitchers in the extra-inning win in Tampa Bay.
Joe and Tim talk with the Red Sox DH, Big Papi, who provided the only offense for the Sox with a 2-run home run that gave the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays
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DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
The 6am hour upload from Monday with Mike Mutnansky in with Kirk and Gerry, with first thoughts from the guys on several of the big weekend stories in sports
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Glenn, Lou, and Christian invite Anthony L. Fisher of "The Week" on the show to explain his article where he discusses why David Ortiz is a jerk and a fraud.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian are slightly taken aback by Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback article where Paul Brown, not Bill Belichick is named the greatest Coach of all time.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian discuss the Jimmy G vs. Brady conundrum, and then delve into the atrocious AFC.
We sit down with the head coach of the Patriots Bill Belichick to break down the win over Houston, and look ahead to the Buffalo Bills this Sunday.
Kirk Minihane sits down with the Boston Globes Sports Media Columnist, Chad Finn. Kirk and Chad talk about the long and storied feud between WEEI and the Boston Globe and the ongoing ratings war between WEEI and the Hub.
Kirk and Gerry talk about how the show is going since the departure of John Dennis, how the fill-in hosts have been doing so far, and what they are looking for in a third host.
Kirk Minihane loves TV and movies, he sits down with TV critic and author of the new book "TV (The Book)" Alan Sepinwall to discuss the best TV shows of all-time and which show should be number 1. Kirk and Alan disagree on which show is the best of all-time and they both have compelling arguments. Kirk and Alan talk about "Cheers" being one of the most underrated and forgotten TV shows of all-time.
Thomas and Conor give a breakdown of the BC-Wagner game this weekend and look forward to next week's Buffalo game.
Christian Fauria and Dr Gill talk about Andrew Benintendi's knee sprain and what that will mean going down the stretch, David Ortiz's ability to keep himself healthy at age 40, and how Pablo Sandoval can return from his season off.
After another big win for the Pats on Thursday night, New England rejoices so Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson get their thoughts in on the game, the Pats future at Quarterback and the difference between the Patriots organization and everyone else. Then the conversation turns to Fantasy Football featuring the slew of injured Runningbacks and who you need to get and start in their place, including Jerrick McKinnon, Charles Simms and Theo Riddick. The boys wrap it up with a look at solid Starts & Sits from RB to WR to TE. Something for every Fantasy Footballer and Football fan. Make sure you join Jim and Pete on Sunday at 8:00am for the WEEI Fantasy Football Hour.
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