It wasn't the money; it was the principle

It wasn't the money; it was the principle
March 13, 2013, 7:45 pm
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In the end, it boiled down to ego.

The Patriots skated over Wes Welker's ego for so long that, when it came time for him to save some face, he took it.

And the Patriots ego? They had a number in mind for Wes Welker. The fact that he caught more than 100 balls for five out of six seasons (catching just 85 the year he came back in a hurry from an ACL) was all well and good. But if he perceived himself to be valuable as a "wide" receiver when he was merely a "slot" receiver, that was his mistake.

They could replace him. And they did.

"You are good. But you are not unique. And here's Danny Amendola with a five-year, $31 million deal to replace you. Pretty much the same as what we offered you with two years and $10 million, plus incentives ... "

It's interesting to note that, for all the Patriots' stubbornness about not coming off their supposedly lowball offer, Denver got Welker for what would have been previously considered a lowball offer.

Two years and $12 million. Six million dollar man. That hasn't been an impressive moniker since the mid-'70s. Bad as the Patriots offer supposedly was, Denver's barely exceeded it.

So it wasn't about the money as much as it was about the principle.

The Patriots had every chance to do right by Welker.

Last summer, his agent Brian Murphy came to Foxboro after Welker was franchised to talk deal with the Patriots. Murphy sat down and . . . no Kraft . . . no Belichick. It was Patriots advisor Floyd Reese he was negotiating with.

Murphy was dumbfounded to see that a supposedly serious meeting was not attended by anyone with the capacity to finalize the deal or change the offer.

And at the end, Murphy said that Reese apologized for wasting Murphy's time.

The beat went on. After signing the franchise tender and tweeting it was a "leap of faith" and that he hoped the Patriots would do the right thing, the Patriots had the gall to call Welker on the carpet for being disrespectful.

This was management against player, and management had its way. Until Welker had a chance to get his way. And he took it.

And the Patriots were loaded up to go after Amendola all along, as I began speculating last year when he was an RFA.

It got ugly with Welker. But now it's done. And neither side probably feels too good about it.