Oct 28,2012; London, UNITED KINGDOM; New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork (75) pursues St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson (39) in the 2012 NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Rams 45-7. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
The New England Patriots just freed up a chunk of money for the salary cap and Vince Wilfork needs to restock his locker. Per ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Twitter the Patriots and defensive tackle Wilfork have restructured his contract to keep him in New England. According to reports, the team and Wilfork agreed upon a three year, $22.5 million deal that will keep him in New England.
Wilfork, who has been a Patriot since being selected with the 21st pick overall in the first round of the 2004 draft, had angrily requested the Patriots release him earlier this month after cleaning out his locker. Wilfork was entering the last season of his contract signed in 2010 after another contentious negotiation when his rookie contract ended.
Per Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, Wilfork has the opportunity to earn up to $8 million this year if he hits all of the bonuses in the restructured contract. She also reported that the deal includes a guarantee of $3 million and an option for 2015 and 2016.
A strong piece in the middle of the Patriots defensive line, the Patriots fan base can stop holding their collective breath as the 31 year-old Patriots icon will be back with the option to earn the same money if healthy while significantly reducing his $11.6 million cap hit in 2014.
This is something that both sides needed to do and it just made too much sense to not make it work. Both sides may not be ecstatic with the deal, but both sides gave a little and worked out a deal that is beneficial for both the player and the team.
The next step for New England is likely to address guard Dan Connolly’s high cap number and work on finding a center (with starter Ryan Wendell still a free agent) and more depth at guard.