Sounds like the New England Patriots made a decision they didn’t really “want” to make with Wes Welker.
Robert Kraft, owner of the team, stated at the 2013 NFL annual meeting that the team wanted Wes to return to the team.
“We usually don’t talk about contracts, but I’d like to clear up what I think is some misconceptions about the Wes situation,” Kraft began. “I’ll go into limited financial details. You know, everyone in our organization wanted Wes Welker back. Anyone who doubts that, or thinks we weren’t serious just doesn’t get it. I’ve owned the team 19 years and I’ve known in the end we have to have certain limits and restraints.”
Sorry Robert, but I’m calling the bluff on this one.
According to sources who were knowledgeable of the entire situation, there are a few things that force me to believe that Patriots were ready to move in another direction.
First and foremost, Tom Curran of Comcast Sports New England reported that the Patriots signed Danny Amendola before Welker signed with the Denver Broncos. That move doesn’t scream “we want you back Wes Welker”. In fact, it says the opposite. This team wasn’t going to pay both players the be the number two receiver on the offense. They play the same position with small differences in their game.
Second, the Patriots offered Welker a contract of 2 years, $10 million before Welker officially hit the market. Once the Broncos told Welker they were offering him a 2 year. $12 million dollar deal he went back to the Patriots brass to see if they’ll match the offer. They never did. That doesn’t sound like something a team that wants their star player back would do.
It’s okay if they didn’t want Welker back. No one is going to hold it against them except for Wes Welker. He specifically contacted the Broncos front office to work out a deal after they didn’t think he was a fit to their offense. And if the team did want Welker back they sure showed it in a terrible way.
Kraft also thought Welker’s agent played a role in not re-signing the free agent wide receiver:
“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. When you come right down to the bottom line, he accepted a deal in Denver which is less money than what we offered him.”
The Patriots reportedly offered $10 million, the Broncos gave him $12 million and sources say the Tennessee Titans were reportedly offering $7 million. There could be the case that the Pats would have bolstered Welker’s deal with incentives, the signing bonus and guaranteed money.
No matter how you look at the situation, whether from Welker’s side or the Patriots side, things just don’t come off well.
Yet, the decision was made. The two sides decided to part ways and while they’ll eventually meet in the regular season when the Broncos face off against the Patriots, but until then the two sides should keep it cordial and truthful: maybe they didn’t want to make ends meet if a long-term deal wasn’t offered.