After Welker signed his franchise tender, he commented that negotiations with the team were getting worse. That reportedly drew the ire of the Patriots organization and had Welker backtracking over the weekend. Patriots owner Robert Kraft sounds ready to be a peacemaker.
"Well we'd like to see him be a Patriot for life but it takes two sides," Kraft told Kim Jones of NFL Network Tuesday at the league meetings in Atlanta. "We're just happy heâs back in the system. Heâs a wonderful young man, and a special guy. I think both sides would like to do a deal, but it requires intelligence and putting our team first."
An ugly dispute between the Patriots and a star player is nothing new. It happens almost every year. Kraft was asked about the report that the team was disappointed with the public turn things have taken.
"Anyone can say whatever they want. Heâs done a great job for us, weâre always trying to do whatever we can do to put our team in the best position to win, that means balancing a lot of things, understanding what the cap is, what the cap growth is, how things fit in the system and we try to have values for every position and every player," Kraft said.
Possible translation: We aren't going to bust open our salary structure for a slot receiver. It's the Patriot Way.