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Jonathan Kraft discusses where Patriots’ negotiations with Wes Welker went awry

03.19.13 at 3:11 pm ET
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Robert Kraft isn’t the only member of the Patriots front office who believes Wes Welker‘s agents, David Dunn and Brian Murphy of Athlete’s First, are the main reason No. 83 took his talents to Denver.

Speaking to students, teachers and school administrators at a DECA conference in Boston on Friday, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft made it clear he believes Welker’s representatives are the main factor the receiver left New England.

“Wes Welker has agents and sometimes in life, if people come between you and another principal in a deal, you’ve got to try to find ways to bridge differences directly and not let people in the middle, who might not always have the same objectives that each of you do, mess things up,” said Jonathan Kraft.

Athlete’s First issued a statement to NFL.com today saying the Patriots proposed a “take-it or leave-it offer,” but Jonathan Kraft revealed that the franchise offered the five-time Pro Bowl receiver a more lucrative deal last summer that would have made him richer than the deal he just signed with Denver.

“There were offers on the table last summer, that, if you look at what Wes made last year with his franchise tag and you look at what the Broncos are paying him for the next two years and you put all that money together, it doesn’t equal what we offered in a three-year deal,” Jonathan Kraft said.

Welker signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Broncos last week. On Monday, Robert Kraft told reporters the receiver’s agents “misrepresented” his market value. Jonathan Kraft agreed but also acknowledged that both sides could have handled the negotiations better.

“I think we were right about the market. Now, we were right but we don’€™t have the player, which isn’€™t good,” said Jonathan Kraft. “His agent was wrong and his player doesn’t have all the money he could have had and I think he’€™s probably at a place where he prefers not to be and we each probably should have been a little smarter.”

Here is a transcript of highlights from Jonathan Kraft’s comments at the DECA conference:

Wes is not only an amazing football player, but he’€™s even a better person. I love him; he’€™s like a brother to me.

Sometimes in business you’€™re going to be faced with difficult decisions. When there aren’€™t constraints like the salary cap and in this case you own the team or whatever your other business is and you don’€™t have a budget you have to stick with, you can let your emotions get the best of you and make decisions based on that and there are times you definitely need to do that. In football it’€™s a cutthroat, competitive business and there’€™s a salary cap. And every decision you make can impact your ability to compete.

Doesn’€™t mean Wes Welker isn’€™t an awesome football player, he is. But Wes Welker has agents and sometimes in life, people come between you and another principal in the deal. You’ve got to try to find ways to bridge differences directly and not let people in the middle — who might not always have the same objectives that each of you do — mess things up. And I’€™m sure Wes’€™ agents thought they were doing what was best for Wes and without getting into all the details, all I’€™ll tell you is, there were offers on the table last summer, that if you look at what Wes made last year with his franchise tag and you look at what the Broncos are paying him for the next two years and you put all that money together it doesn’€™t equal what we offered in a three-year deal.

Now that doesn’€™t mean we’€™re right and Wes is wrong. I think we were right about the market. Now we were right but we don’€™t have the player, which isn’€™t good. His agent was wrong and his player doesn’€™t have all the money he could have had and I think he’€™s probably at a place where he prefers not to be and we each probably should have been a little smarter. You just got to learn from experiences like that and get better. I would just tell you that when you find yourself in those [situations], as businessmen and women, try and be smarter than we were and Wes’€™ agents were and you’€™ll get better results

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