Kraft says Patriots made better offer to Welker
Updated: March 18, 2013
PHOENIX (AP) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft delivered
several messages Monday at the NFL meetings.
He claimed his team's contract offer to Wes Welker was better than what
the receiver got in Denver. Kraft said Welker's agent, David Dunn,
"misrepresented" Welker's market value.
And Kraft made it clear who is boss in New England.
When asked about Patriots quarterback Tom Brady being upset that Welker
left after Brady reworked his own contract, Kraft said: "I don't answer
to Tom Brady. He's an important member of the team and we chatted."
"He did what he did to put us in the best position to build a team
around him and win games," Kraft added. "But he has never, as it has
been reported that he, or people close to him, have made certain
comments, but none of that is true. I've spoken with him directly.
Whoever is creating that impression is mistaken.
"He has never put a demand" on the Patriots.
Welker got a two-year, $12 million deal with the Broncos. Kraft said
Welker could have received $8 million in the first year of a two-year
contract with New England worth $10 million overall, as opposed to $6
million he gets in Denver.
"And there is no guarantee that he plays the second year there," Kraft
Dunn did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press
The Patriots paid the two-time All-Pro receiver $9.55 million under the
franchise tag in 2012 after Welker felt he was being lowballed on a new
deal and could not reach agreement on a long-term contract. He then had
his fifth season with at least 111 catches, making 118 receptions for
1,354 yards and six touchdowns.
New England didn't tag Welker again, balking at paying the game's best
slot receiver the required 20 percent raise for a second-time franchise
Now, he's a Bronco, going from being Brady's favorite target to
catching passes from Peyton Manning. Not a bad neighborhood to move to.
But Kraft was adamant Monday that he wanted Welker to remain in New
"We usually don't talk about contracts, but I'd like to clear up what I
think is some misconception about the Wes situation," Kraft said.
"Everyone in our organization wanted Wes Welker back. Anyone who doubts
that, or thinks we weren't serious, just doesn't get it. I really
wanted Wes to be with us through the rest of his career, but it takes
two sides to do a deal."
When he joined the Broncos last week, Welker refused to criticize the
Patriots, although he made it clear he felt his time in New England had
come to a close.
"I'd definitely like to thank New England for the six years there, all
the trust and everything they put in me," Welker said. "As free agency
kind of went on, I kind of got the feeling that it was time to start
looking for other opportunities. Denver, I felt, would be a great fit
Kraft Maintains Patriots Offer Was Better
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