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Patriot fans can now rejoice with the news that veteran Vince Wilfork is not going anywhere! The Patriots and Wilfork have finally come to an agreement both sides and the fans can be happy with and could allow Wilfork to retire as a Patriot. The Patriots restructured Wilfork’s contract and offered him a 3-year, $22.5 million contract extension according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter.
His new deal is for one-year, $8 million, with $3 million guaranteed. The Patriots also have the option of bringing back the nose tackle for the 2015 and 2016 seasons for a total of $22.5 million.
Wilfork took to twitter moments before the good news broke, tweeting this message to his fans.
“It’s been hard to remain quiet and let things take its course but it has been the best thing to do. Negotiations are never easy especially when you have a 10 year history with a team and more importantly relationships. For those who have supported me I thank you, for those who have called me every name in the book I thank you too. My intentions have never changed 10 years ago my goal was to retire a Patriot and as I sit here typing this I am closer ti achieving my goal. I look forward to getting back to football and helping my team compete and have a chance at winning the Super Bowl.”
This comes after a month of public drama from Wilfork. Earlier in the month, after much displeasure with the progress of his negotiations with the team (or lack there of), Wilfork reportedly asked for his release from the team and even went as far as cleaning out his locker to demonstrate his unhappiness with the discussions. This also comes after Patriots owner Robert Kraft said on Monday that he’s holding out hope that the two sides can come to some kind of resolution.
Wilfork has been a steady force on the team since being drafted in the first round of the 2004 draft by the Patriots. He is the team’s second longest tenured player only behind, surprise surprise, Tom Brady. The five-time Pro Bowler and defensive captain has been a foundation for the Patriots defense, providing a rock in the middle of that run defense. Not only is he a defensive leader, but he is the “ol’ g” of the team, providing positive leadership and experience for all the younger players on the team.
Wilfork did the right thing by restructuring his contract. After all, the 32 year-old is coming off season-ending surgery for a torn Achilles that occurred in Week 4 last season and those two factors, age and surgery, probably dropped his stock. He is also staying with a team that just increased its chances of representing the AFC in the Super Bowl with this latest signing.
Now with an elite player to stop the run and one to stop the pass with the recent acquisition of Darrelle Revis, the Patriots defense has elevated itself to an elite level that could rival that of the Seattle Seahawks. With a much improved and now complete defense, there will be less pressure on Brady and the offense to score on every possession to win games. Watch out Arizona, here we come!