- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Wes Welker saga with the New England Patriots took another turn at the NFL owners meetings Monday. Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke in detail about the situation and had some interesting tidbits.
Here are several things that stood out:
Kraft described Welker as New England's "first choice" and Danny Amendola as the team's "alternative." That cannot make Amendola feel good, despite signing a five-year, $31 million contract. Kraft said every member in the organization wanted Welker back. But as contract negotiations dragged on, New England began working on Amendola.
The Patriots are being blamed by media and fans for low-balling Welker. But Kraft said he believes New England offered market value for the Pro Bowl receiver. Welker signed in Denver for two years and $12 million after New England reportedly offered Welker two years and $10 million. Kraft also said there were incentives in New England's offer that could've made the final number higher.
Quarterback Tom Brady never demanded that New England re-sign Welker, according to Kraft. Brady signed a three-year extension and provided the Patriots millions in additional cap space. It was expected that New England would use some of that money on Welker. But Kraft said he doesn't answer to Brady.
Kraft is one of the NFL's best owners and certainly one of the classiest. This is unusual for an owner to explain, in detail, how a contract negotiation went down. But Kraft felt it was important to get the team's side out there.
In the end, the results won't change. Welker is now a Bronco and the Patriots have Amendola. Both sides had their chance to explain why the split happened and now it's time to move on.