On Thursday, the New England Patriots and veteran All-Pro DT Vince Wilfork agreed to a new three-year contract for roughly $22 million with $3 million guaranteed. It’s basically a one-year deal for $8 million with two one-year options for 2015 and 2016.
In the last few weeks it was reported that Wilfork wanted out going so far as to ask the club to release him and even reportedly cleaned out his locker and ripped his nameplate off of it. So what changed?
Well let’s look at this logically. The team asked for a restructure of his current contract and Big Vince balked. Based on the reported history of how he had to fight for the current deal it kind of makes sense that he wouldn’t want to give up what he felt he earned.
The team on the other hand looking to add pieces for another potential Super Bowl run wanted Wilfork to make concessions other players have willingly made in the past.
You can see both sides of the ball here.
Now how mad was Wilfork? Did he actually ask for his release? Did he really clean out his locker in a fit? Or is this the Patriots media making something out of nothing?
With the Patriot Way we will never know, it’s how it’s done but we can look at some past history to see how badly strained this relationship may or may not have become. In the past when players refused to play along, asked for too much money, became outspoken or became persona non-grata they were released, traded or allowed to walk away. The list is impressive.
So why did Wilfork get to stay? In all likelihood it was no where near the crap storm the Boston media was making it to be. When asked at the coaches meetings about Wilfork, Bill Belichick said very little but did indicate it was Wilfork who should be asked. He even asked the reported to verify with Wilfork that he had asked for his release. Owner Robert Kraft even said he hoped things would work out. That didn’t sound contentious to me.
And just days later like magic it all worked out. The Patriots got what they want, it appears Wilfork got what he wanted or at least something he felt was workable and fair and Patriots fans can breathe easier because Big Vince is back in the middle.
photo credit: getty images