BOSTON (CBS) – Nose tackle Vince Wilfork is entering the final season of a five-year, $40 million deal, a season in which he may or may not be wearing a Patriots uniform.

Wilfork requested his release on Thursday after the team reportedly asked the 10-year veteran to take a paycut – something he’s not willing to do for them.

Losing #75 is tough when you consider all he’s done in a Patriots uniform, but it’s a move that would be generally understood by the fan base given where both parties are at. The 325-pounder is coming off a devastating Achilles injury and the Pats seem to be transitioning into a faster defensive unit with an emphasis on stopping the pass – Wilfork is a run stuffer.

Regardless, $11 million is a tough cap hit to swallow for any position, let alone a defensive tackle coming back from major injury.

Wilfork’s unwillingness to play ball with the Patriots on a contract restructuring is curious, because how much does he realistically expect to receive on the open market?

The Patriots may ultimately strike a deal with Wilfork that convinces him to stay, but right now all indications point to a contentious negotiation . . . just like the last contract he received from the team after the 2009 season.

Mike Felger, Tony Massarotti and Marc Bertrand speculate that Vince is going into these discussions with the same ill-will leftover from his last contract negotiation.

What do you think is at the root of Vince’s frustration? Leave us your opinion in the comments section below!



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