BOSTON (CBS) – After it came to light that Patriots veteran Vince Wilfork cleaned out his locker and ripped off the nameplate at Gillette Stadium, the prospect of his return to the team looked very grim.
The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin has said all along that asking for his release was just a negotiation tactic on the side of Vince, but business is business, and both sides were willing to do what was best for one another.
Luckily for Patriots fans, #75 will likely not be playing for another team for the rest of his NFL career.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Wilfork and the Patriots restructured his contract on Thursday. The new deal is three years and worth $22.5 million. However, given the guaranteed money, Schefter clarified that it’s more of a one-year deal worth up to $8.5 million, with options for two years.
Volin came on with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich program Friday morning to shed some light on the negotiation and how contentious it got.
“It was a classic negotiation. The team had most of the leverage and the player did whatever he could to defend whatever money he could keep. Wilfork was supposed to make $7.5 million and a salary cap number of $12 million. There was no way Vince was going to play for those numbers. They didn’t want to release him, they still wanted him on the team next year. Ripping his nameplate off the locker was all for show. You have to kind of put up that act and pretend like you’re serious in the negotiation.
“Cooler heads prevailed. Vince Wilfork will be here for the next few years. He’s a fan favorite, a favorite of the Krafts and Belichick, so they did a good job of letting cooler heads prevail. Now he can probably retire a Patriot.”
Volin estimates the Patriots saved themselves roughly $5 million in cap space and now have about $9 million to work with.
However, the big spending is over with. They got Revis. They got Browner. They got LaFell. They re-signed Edelman. Now the team will use that freed up money to pay their rookie class, and have the ability to be flexible and make roster moves during the season if and when injuries arise.
Volin admits he was surprised the Pats weren’t in on Jared Allen, but added, “The rest of the improvements will now come through the draft. Pass rushers, defensive tackles, maybe some offensive line help, a tight end.”
When asked about the draft, Volin says it’s virtually impossible to predict how things will shake out in the first 28 picks. The Patriots currently hold the 29th overall pick and do have some holes to fill — maybe not humongous holes like Greg Bedard says they have — but holes nonetheless.
He doesn’t know who they’ll take or what position they’ll target, but Volin does know the Patriots are done waiting around.
“They need players that can make instant impacts. They’re not in the mood for developing guys right now. They’re in ‘win now’ mode. The Patriots are gonna get players who can play right away.”
Listen below for the full discussion: