Patriots part ways with Wilfork
By Peter Santo
Earlier this morning Defensive Tackle Vince Wilfork tweeted that the Patriots declined to pick up the team option on his contract. In what has become known as a classic Patriot move, choosing financial flexibility over loyalty to the player, the Patriots let Wilfork becoming an unrestricted free agent, saving 8.9 million dollars against the salary cap.
This was not an unexpected move as valuing financial flexibility over players is how the Patriots have been run since the team came under control of owner Robert Kraft and Head Coach Bill Belichick. Wilfork, 33, is an aging veteran, and just two years removed from an achilles tear. This along with his high cap hit made him an ideal candidate to be let go.
Wilfork released a statement via twitter saying he had “a great relationship with the Patriots organization” and he has “lots of gas left in the tank.”
Wilfork will be entering his twelfth NFL season has played for the Patriots for his entire career. A five time Pro Bowler and two time Super Bowl Champion, Wilfork will look to be paid handsomely, but despite his age he will provide great veteran leadership and continues to perform at a high level.
There is always the possibility that the Patriots negotiate and Wilfork takes a pay cut, but that appears unlikely. Wilfork will surely be beloved in whatever new home he finds himself in and all Patriots fans should be grateful they were able to watch such a great person and player.
While Patriots fans can blame Belichick and Kraft for refusing to pay yet another star player, no one can argue that the two most important players on the Patriots defense in 2014 were Devin McCourty and Darrelle Revis. With both players scheduled to become free agents next week, the Patriots need to save money in order to ensure that they retain their two biggest defensive stars.
Jackson Posnik also contributed to this report