Agent maintains Patriots didn't want Welker

Agent maintains Patriots didn't want Welker
March 17, 2013, 4:30 pm
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PHOENIX -- At the owners meetings last March in Florida, I asked Wes Welker's agent David Dunn if a four-year deal worth about $32 million would satisfy Dunn and Welker and keep Welker in New England.

"How much guaranteed?" Dunn asked.

About $18 million?

"Add about $2 million and that would work," Dunn said. "I don't care about the years, I care about the guaranteed money."

As it turned out, the extension never came. Nor did the contract with $20 million guaranteed.

Welker worked for $9.5 million in 2012 and will now work in Denver for $6 million in 2013. If the Broncos pick up his option next March, Welker will make another $6 million

The gap between the desired $20 million of last March and the $12 million he settled for this March underscores to me the obvious conclusion that Dunn and Welker misjudged the market for the wide receiver.

Sunday in Phoenix, I asked Dunn how that happened.

We spoke cordially for several minutes. He didn't want to be quoted, saying the situation was still "too fresh" but Dunn OK'd my characterizing the conversation and his version of things.

Dunn disputes the idea Welker's market was misjudged.

The Patriots simply didn't want Welker is the contention. The two-year, $16 million offer the Boston Globe reported Welker having dangled during the 2010 season that would have covered Welker in 2011 and 2012 never happened, said Dunn.

No offer was ever made, Dunn contends. Period.

If that were the case, there was no two-year, $10 million offer plus incentives that could have pumped the deal up to $16 million.

That offer was reported by Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston, who wrote on Friday, "The last proposal from the Patriots was a two-year, $10 million pact that could have been worth up to $16 million with incentives (although in Welker's eyes a good chunk of those would have been tough to reach)."

If there were no offer, it confounds how Reiss would be able to report that the incentives in a non-existent offer were unattainable in the eyes of Welker.

Welker is at peace with how things turned out, according to Dunn.

I asked Dunn why Welker would contend he went to Denver because he wanted to be with a winner when he was leaving a team that is 39-9 over the last three regular seasons. He returned to the notion the Patriots didn't want Welker.

Amendola was the plan all along, he believes.

Sources on the other side have told me Amendola was Plan B. That if Welker could have been secured long ago, he'd be finishing his career in New England. But the financial gap between the two sides was one the Patriots believed may not be bridged. And, instead of winding up without Welker or Amendola or any established threat to play the slot, the Patriots went after a player that they saw as attainable in Amendola.

The Welker camp will point to Welker's reduced role at the start of 2012 as proof New England was moving away from Welker. The Patriots will counter that A) the game plan in the first two weeks was run-based and why have Welker out there delivering blocks when Julian Edelman was bigger and stronger, B) Welker still played more than 50 plays in the opener and C) preserving Welker for the 16-game schedule and the playoffs was a team priority after a 2011 season in which Welker seemed ground down by the end of the season.

When we concluded talking, Dunn cautioned me to not believe everything I hear.

Given the disparity between the two versions, that's an impossibility.