The New England Patriots and Vince Wilfork do not seem to be on the same page heading into this off-season’s free agency. With about a week left before the deadline for teams to place a franchise tag on a player, it is my opinion that the Patriots will do just that to Wilfork and I don’t blame them. There are several reasons why I feel the Brain Trust at Patriot Place will franchise Wilfork.
The obvious reason: If they place the tag on the Big Nose Tackle it guarantees Vince a salary of about $7 million for the 2010 season, and if any team is willing to sign Vince to a new deal, the Patriots will get compensated with a draft pick.
The fiscally responsible reason: The Patriots are looking ahead to the future and the fact that the NFL could be locked out in the 2011 season, so why would they sign a long term deal with a player (especially if they don’t have to) and give him a hefty signing bonus if the owners will not be bringing in any revenue in 2011 and that bonus money is guaranteed and would have to be paid even if a lock-out occurs.
The personal reason: The Patriots are a tight-lipped organization and expect their players to act accordingly, and Vince has been using the media to attack the team’s lack of loyalty like he would an all-you-can-eat buffet. Last time I checked, this team really doesn’t reward a player and his wife when they stomp their feet and cry about not being respected (paid). And it is speculated that they did make him an offer with a signing bonus in the $23 million range and Vince turned it down. Vince has also made it publically known that he would love to return to the Miami area, so who’s the one being disloyal?
In a perfect world, sure, it would be nice for the both sides to agree on a long term deal. Vince is a very important part of the defensive scheme, but we don’t live in a world of rainbows and unicorns; this is the real world, and to the Patriots it’s strictly business. Of course, Vince does have the right to sit out this season, but that doesn’t benefit him at all; that means no money or exercise for the big man for the entire season, which wouldn’t be good for someone who look likes he could be a contender on the Biggest Loser.
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Written by Jason Smalley