Posted March 19, 2013

Wes Welker’s agents dispute Robert Kraft’s claims surrounding breakup

NFL

Wes Welker’s agents have disputed Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s claim that the receiver turned down more money to play for the Broncos.

Welker signed a free-agent deal with the Broncos on Wednesday after playing six seasons for the Patriots.

Kraft was critical of the role Welker’s agency, Athletes First, played in negotiations on Sirius Radio Monday, saying they “played poker, [but] they overplayed their hand.” On Sunday, Welker’s agent, David Dunn, told Comcast SportsNet New England that he believes the Patriots didn’t want Welker back.

Kraft disagreed:

“Everyone in our organization wanted Wes Welker back,” Kraft said. “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. Like I’ve said many times, I really wanted Wes to be with us through the rest of his career, but it takes two sides to do a deal.

“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 that is less money than what we offered him.”

On Tuesday, Dunn’s agency emailed NFL.com with a response that characterized the Patriots’ “lone” offer to Welker as “take-it-or-leave-it.” (read complete response)

“When we asked if there was room for structural changes, we were told no,” the Athletes First statement read. “We made a counter-offer for the same term and same maximum dollar amount 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.”

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported last week that Welker’s camp had pursued an offer from the Patriots over the days and weeks leading up to free agency, but didn’t get one until hours before he hit the market last Tuesday at 4 p.m. A source with intimate knowledge of Welker’s position said Welkers’ agents sent the Patriots one proposal on March 7, five days before the start of free agency, and a second one that weekend.

SI.com’s Don Banks reported Monday the Patriots had essentially moved on from Welker to negotiating with free-agent slot receiver Danny Amendola even before Welker agreed to the Broncos’ deal. Believing Welker to be likely on his way out of town, the Patriots started negotiating with the former Ram on Tuesday, the first day of free agency and quickly agreed to terms on a five-year, $28.5 million contract. The Patriots didn’t reveal the deal with Amendola until after news of Welker’s signing in Denver had surfaced Wednesday.

The Patriots and Athletes First have since countered each other in media reports as to the actual details and scope of Welkers’ offers from the Broncos and the Patriots. NFL Network’s Albert Breer reports:

A Patriots source said that the incentives in that counterproposal were $500,000 triggers in 2014 for 70, 80 and 90 catches, and a Pro Bowl berth, and that the $14 million was to be fully guaranteed. The team source said one earlier proposal from the player’s side was for $18.5 million over two years, with a $15 million signing bonus.

The source on Welker’s side disputes that the $14 million was to be fully guaranteed and said the triggers were set higher than 70, 80 and 90 catches for 2014, while acknowledging the Pro Bowl trigger. Additionally, the source denied the existence of the two-year, $18.5 million proposal, saying those numbers were part of a longer-term concept that the sides had discussed.

That context is important, because, according to the source, Welker felt like the deal offered last summer was better than last week’s offer, which illustrates how history played into this particular situation. Welker’s own sense that he was being phased out of the offense early in the 2012 season played into his reluctance to accept an incentive-laden contract. The fact that he responded with 118 catches made it difficult to accept a lesser offer.


10 comments
kgolay6969
kgolay6969

good ole booby kraft   cheats in spygate cheats on his wife  (he married his mistress before there was grass on his wifes grave)  and hasnt won anything in ten years ok i believe him 

CrabbyOldMan
CrabbyOldMan

I have no idea whose account most approaches the truth, but does anyone really expect that Welker's agent (or anyone else's, for that matter) is going to admit the possibility of having screwed up?!

dt
dt

“When we asked if there was room for structural changes, we were told no,” the Athletes First statement read. “We made a counter-offer for the same term and same maximum dollar amount 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.”

 

Well duh.  That's called "negotiating".  If I told you I was going to pay you X amount of dollars and you asked me if I would want to pay X+1 for the exact same product, why would I say yes?  This agent sucks.  2 years $12 million is nothing (by sports business context, not real world) for a receiver of Welker's production.

FanJab
FanJab

Who cares anymore about this? Sounds like high school to me. He said this, no he said that...who cares. Welker is on the Broncos now, lets move on..

mjpt
mjpt

Put this on an earlier article... Long and boring but it gets to the bones of the issue...

 

if anyone is changing the narrative to fit the outcome, its Kraft. Here's why: he is talking about it, which goes against Patriots policy of separating ownership and football operations, he said he does not answer to Brady which shows how emotional this is. More than anything though its that they had 3 years to get this done. Kraft is looking to INDUCE an answer based on the premises (C= A+B) rather than DEDUCE an answer (A +B=C) Its subtle and technical and boring but if you distinguish between the two, it goes to the heart of what happened here.  Kraft is in- filling the process so that the outcome fits A,B is process C is outcome. Using uncertainty (incentives) and presenting them as fact (hard money, guaranteed) proves this. Add in that they benched Welker last year shows that they can control productivity and hence, incentive pay. They applied deduction (A+B=C) ala Belichick's economic training and did not allow for nuances eg :gronk and Hernandez injuries. They got caught in a lie ( we will keep Welker) what they should have said is (we will keep Welker-but only at this price) sell the truth NE, its easier.

MuktarBinAmir
MuktarBinAmir

Bob Kraft to Tom Brady: "Thanks for that extra $15 million, Tom, we've found a GREAT backup quarterback... you know... just in case..."

JackWilliams
JackWilliams

 @MuktarBinAmir

 Bob Kraft to Tom Brady: "Thanks for that extra $15 million, Tom...Ricki really loved the new summer cottage I bought with the dough."