Patriots owner Robert Kraft met with Boston-area media members Monday for the first time since Tom Brady’s contract renegotiation and extension and Wes Welker’s decision to sign with Denver. What happened during the course of that 19-minute question-and-answer session at the NFL meetings, in a shaded courtyard at the Arizona Biltmore, was an explanation of what happened during the Welker negotiations through the Patriots’ eyes. Right off the bat, Kraft was asked about Welker. “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. 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. The only person in my life who had unlimited financial ability to do whatever they wanted was my late, sweet wife [Myra]. Everything else has boundaries.” Even with those boundaries, Kraft believed the Patriots’ offer to Welker was very fair. “In Wes’s case, we were willing to go what we considered above his market value. For a couple years, we tried to get a long-term deal done with him,” Kraft said. “We couldn’t do a deal and we wound up franchising him at a very high number [$9.5 million for 2012]. “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.
Passionate Kraft says he wanted Welker back
Boston Globe | Mar 19