Kraft continued that Welker called both him and coach Bill Belichick Wednesday to inform them of his offer from the Broncos, but with Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and, by then Amendola — all players who play in the middle of the field — already under contract, “it was just unfortunately a little bit too late.
“If he had called one day earlier, he would have been with us. And so that is the Wes Welker story. I’m very sad about it and I wish he would have been with our team.”
Welker’s side submitted a contract proposal before the legal tampering window opened, and never got a counter-proposal back from New England. The Patriots made an offer Monday night, a counter was sent by the Welker camp along the lines of what the Titans had offered for the receiver (reportedly $14 million for two years), the Patriots said no and didn’t give a counter.
When Denver’s deal came, Welker’s side asked New England to match it and again was turned down – by then, Amendola’s contract already had been completed.
Asked about agent David Dunn’s contention that there was never an offer, Kraft quickly shot back, “Did you hear what I said? There was an offer. And that’s just bogus.”
He also put to bed the idea that Brady asked for assurances that Welker would be re-signed when the quarterback re-did his deal, saying, “I don’t answer to Tom Brady” and continuing that even if Brady had asked for certain things, “to be honest, we wouldn’t have accepted them.”
Kraft clearly blamed Dunn and Athletes First for a deal not getting done, and was sincerely upset that Welker would no longer be with the Patriots.,
“I think there’s a lot of misconceptions — how our coach felt, how I felt. I don’t get involved very often. This is one that was really important,” Kraft said. “Wes, I used to speak to him in the locker room and say, ‘You know, you and I have to be smart here to make both sides make it happen.’
“And, you know, the agents are doing their job and doing the best job they can, but I just think there was a miscalculation of value here and playing poker, and unfortunately, the player and the team both got hurt.”
The Patriots owner met the media with three red marks on his face — one on his cheek, another on his nose, and the third near his mouth; he is being treated for pre-melanoma, a type of skin cancer. He opted not to cover them, he explained, because he wanted to encourage proper skin protection.