The Wes Welker Drama of the last few weeks, we are finding out in bits and pieces this week, didn’t have to be a drama after all.
In fact, it now appears that Welker probably should have been a New England Patriot for the next two years.
According to two NFL sources, Welker’s representatives, David Dunn and Brian Murphy, appear to have botched the negotiations for their star wide receiver, who signed with the Denver Broncos last week.
“He still should be a Patriot,” said an NFL source. “Their agents gambled that his price tag would be much, much higher than what he agreed to with the Broncos. They had hoped a bunch of teams would be around the $7 million or $8 million range, per year.”
Yesterday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft reiterated the same point, stating, in the end, Welker took less money to leave the team he played for since 2007.
It has been learned that Welker’s touted two-year “guaranteed” deal with the Broncos, for $12 million has a few “outs” in it for the Broncos, really only guaranteeing only half that amount.
It could also be argued that the deal is not as good as the two-year, $10 million guaranteed deal the Patriots offered him at the beginning of free agency, which included bonuses that could have made it worth $16 million over two years.
While Welker’s representatives reportedly claimed the incentives as “difficult to reach,” if Welker hit on all of the same stats and won the same awards he won in 2011, he would have received $16 million combined in 2013 and 2014. If he hit on some of those incentives, Welker could have received anywhere from $12 million to $14 million over the two years.
Before last season, the Patriots reportedly were told by Welker’s representatives that they would not accept less than $20 million guaranteed, which would have been a little less than the sum of the “franchise tag” for Welker in 2012 ($9.5 million) and 2013 ($11.4 million).