- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Last week Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker held his introductory news conference with the Denver Broncos. He thanked the New England Patriots organization, but you can see in his face that deep down it wasn't easy to move on. Emotions still lingered.
On Monday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft added more gasoline to the emotional flames after being critical of the negotiations. Kraft essentially pointed the finger at Welker and his representation as reasons Welker is no longer in New England.
"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,” Kraft explained, according to ESPNBoston.com. “The only person in my life who had unlimited financial ability to do whatever they wanted was my late, sweet wife. Everything else has boundaries.
“In Wes’ 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. We couldn’t do a deal and we wound up franchising him at a very high number [$9.5 million]. 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.”
The business side of the NFL can get ugly at times, and this is another example. This was Kraft's version of events, and Welker certainly has his side of the story. Somewhere in between probably is the full truth.
Playing this Welker blame game after the fact is a pointless and fruitless exercise. It only makes a tough situation worse. Welker left for Denver, and the Patriots signed receiver Danny Amendola to a five-year, $31 million contract. The best possible scenario is that this swap works out for both parties.
Both sides had their chance to voice their opinions and frustrations on why it didn't work out. Now, it's time for Welker and the Patriots to quietly move on.