Kraft says Patriots made better offer to WelkerThe Associated press | March 19,2013AP Photo
New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft arrives for the annual NFL meetings on Monday at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.PHOENIX — 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 added.
Dunn did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press for comment.
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 player.
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 England.
“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 for me.”MORE IN Wire SportsYou might say the Minnesota Vikings are pondering a quarterbacking dilemma. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Julius Caesar dedicates a temple to his mythical ancestor, Venus Genetrix; on this day in 1933, FBI agents in Memphis, Tennessee, arrest Machine Gun Kelly; Yves Rossi flies the English Channel with home-made jet-pack.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1852, Henri Giffard demonstrates the first steam-powered airship, sailing 17 miles from Paris to Trappes; on this day in 1877, Japanese imperial troops crush the Satsuma Rebellion, Saigo Takamori dies in Kagoshima.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: U.S. Rep. Peter Welch meets with Killington business owners, governor candidates debate, Gov. Shumlin discusses progress in anti-opiate campaign, Spanos trial venue moves to White River Junction.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1776, as Nathan Hale is hanged by British military authorities for spying, he utters his famous last words — or does he? In 1975, Sara Jane Moore attempts to kill President Gerald R. Ford in San Francisco.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Patrick McArdle reports and the theft of an $89,000 shotgun, police release a video of the Monday Castleton robbery, O'Gorman reports a lawsuit by a local man claiming his vehicle unlawfully seized, police leave him in cold.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Giles Corey of Salem, Mass., is pressed to death during the Salem witch trials; on this day in 1952, film comedian Charlie Chaplin, while traveling to England, is denied re-entry into the United States by U.S. attorney general.