Wide receiver Wes Welker surprised the NFL by leaving the New England Patriots and signing with the Denver Broncos yesterday. Welker signed a two-year deal at a surprisingly reasonable $12 million ($6 million a year).
It had been reported that if Welker signed with another team that the Patriots would consider making restricted free agent Victor Cruz a huge offer. Then news broke that Cruz hired agent Tom Condon.
Condon has great standing with the Giants organization representing Eli Manning, Mathias Kiwanuka, Osi Umenyiora and Mark Herzlich. Apparently his standing with the Patriots is not nearly as good, as Pats' owner Robert Kraft typically prefers not to do business with him.
Quickly after allowing Welker to walk, the Pats inked Danny Amendola to a five-year, $31 million contract, putting an end to any speculation that they could be a threat to sign Cruz.
Welker was offered a two year, $10 million deal by the Patriots, that he considered an insult after producing at such a high level during his tenure there. After feeling disrespected by the Patriots, Welker decided to ditch Tom Brady to play with Peyton Manning for nearly the same deal.
The fact that Welker agreed to the same contract the with Broncos that Pats were offering him out of spite could really help the Giants while they negotiate with Victor Cruz. Now that two of the top free agent slot receivers available in Welker and Amendola have signed their respective deals, which each comes to about $6 million a year, we have a better idea of what type of contract Cruz should expect from the Giants.
There is no doubt Cruz is deserving of a large contract and will surely get more money than Welker and Amendola. The Giants along with Cruz and his agent should be able to use Welker's deal of $6 million a year as a starting point while they negotiate a number.
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