We’ve heard the recent reports surrounding Vince Wilfork’s unhappiness regarding the team’s need to restructure and lower his salary cap number, and it sounds like the veteran wasn’t kidding when he asked for his release recently.
According to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, Wilfork has already ripped his nameplate off his locker stall and cleaned out his locker, which was a clear indication of how contentious those discussions apparently were.
No timetable has been released in terms of when that event occurred and the nose tackle was reported to have been on vacation, so it will be interesting to see if, in fact, Wilfork cleaned out his locker prior to heading off on vacation and if that’s the case, whether after having some time to cool off, the two sides can come back together and still get something done.
That’s a detail we don’t know, and one that we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out before rushing to any sort of judgement in what’s already a tough situation.
Robert Kraft told the Herald he’s “still not giving up hope that he’ll be a part of our team next year.” However, Kraft also said that due to the salary cap they also have to figure out something that obviously works both for Wilfork and his football team.
“We’ve been very close and I’ll let Vince speak to whatever he feels is appropriate,” Kraft told the newspaper. “We’re probably results-oriented and life is about execution so either we get it done or we don’t. I very much hope we get it done, and I believe he very much would like to do it as well. We’ve been so lucky to have him. So we’ll see what happens.”
“You know, for him, he’s making some individual decisions,” Kraft added. “For us, we have to put a team together of over 50 people. We have a salary cap. In the end, it’s about both parties feeling it’s a good transaction and it’s a win-win. I think that’s what we’re both shooting for.”
Hopefully there’s still time to reach a resolution. Losing Wilfork would leave them thin in a group that for now behind Tommy Kelly still has some question marks. Even if Wilfork’s not the player he was prior to his injury, one would have to believe he’s still good enough to be effective alongside Kelly. There’s also the intangible of what he brings to the table in terms of his leadership on the field.
Now the only question will be whether the Patriots will place enough of a value on him to make him happy, or if it will be another tough decision that will lead to change on this football team.