Kraft: Lawyers, agents may 'mess up' Welker deal

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Kraft: Lawyers, agents may 'mess up' Welker deal

NEW ORLEANS - Wes Welker had a contractual mud wrestle with the Patriots last year.

When he finally relented on his quest for a multiyear deal and accepted the franchise tag the team applied to him, ownership reportedly bristled when he called his decision a "leap of faith."

That Welker was called on the carpet for that comment after laying down his arms illustrates the tenor of where things have been, business-wise, between the little receiver and the team.

Friday, while at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke about Welker's contractual situation. The owner this time took a swipe at Welker's representatives.

"I'd love him to be around, he's a great guy," said Kraft. "Like I said all along, it takes two sides to make a transaction and then we have to manage the lawyers and the agents that they don't mess it up. I think Wes wants to be with us and we want him here so it's just a matter of whether both sides can be intelligent."

Welker is an unrestricted free agent.

Jeff Howe: Good move by Patriots to see what price is on Richard Sherman trade

Jeff Howe: Good move by Patriots to see what price is on Richard Sherman trade

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald talks with Toucher and Rich about the report that the Patriots inquired what the price would be to acquire Seahawks Pro Bowl corner Richard Sherman via trade.

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo still has faith in New England Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones.

The cornerback, who was the Patriots' top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, struggled mightily in his rookie season. He fumbled his way out of a role on special teams, where he served as a returner.

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He then failed to perform at nickel cornerback, and the Patriots traded for Eric Rowe, who pushed Jones down the depth chart and often onto the inactives on game day. Jones' emotional outburst during Week 5 when he got ejected for punching Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins didn't help.

Despite all that, Mayo thinks Jones will turn things around.

"I think Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year," Mayo said in the latest edition of "The Ex Pats" podcast. "I want people to remember a rookie [Matthew] Slater. A rookie Matt Slater was terrible. He would sit here on this podcast and tell you he's terrible, and I think Cyrus Jones is more athletic than Matthew Slater. I think -- I know for a fact, because I've seen it time and time again, the biggest leap not only in athleticsm but also in confidence is from year one to year two."

Jones admitted to the Baltimore Sun that his rookie was "hell." He added he felt "embarrassed." The 23-year-old cornerback said he didn't feel like he was a part of New England's Super Bowl LI win.

“Failure is another opportunity to begin again more intelligently,” Jones wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.

Mayo seems to think Jones has learned his lesson, and will rebound with the help of Bill Belichick. And the Patriots may need Butler to be the most-improved player. Malcolm Butler's future with New England has become uncertain, and the remaining top cornerbacks are over 6-feet.

The Patriots need a slot corner. Jones is the next man up.

"As much as the media has kind of battered this young kid, Bill's going to boost him up this entire offseason," Mayo said. "Bill -- he's the best at putting lowlights up after a game . . . But during the offseason, he kind of -- it's individualized coach. He knows this guy's confidence is in the toilet. He's going to boost him up as much as possible.

"You know [Jones] can play football. He played in the SEC. He played on the top team on the country, and was a standout performer. So this is a confidence issue. This entire thing is a confidence issue, and I think they fix that."