New England Sports React

Wilfork Asks For Release

If these are Vince Wilfork’s last days in New England, he certainly won’t be leaving happily.

Less than 24 hours after the team’s signing of superstar CB Darrelle Revis, the Patriots seemed to have lost touch with one of their decade-long defensive cornerstones.

Thursday afternoon, DT Vince Wilfork asked for his outright release from New England, the place he called home for so long and where he claimed he wanted to end his playing career. His demands apparently came following the team’s request for the All-Pro defensive lineman to take a pay cut. Wilfork is set to make $7.5 million in 2014 with an $11.6 million cap hit, robust numbers that fit the build of the man they’re supporting but certainly not what he has left to offer. The 32-year-old (who is set to turn 33 in November) is well past his prime, and while he can still have a plentiful impact on a defense’s scheme he is coming off a torn ACL, a difficult injury to recover from especially for a player of his size. There’s no question that he won’t be able to return to what he was before the injury; he may not even be able to put forth the sub-par performances that were consistent at the beginning of last season (albeit while he was likely playing through injury). So it seems the obvious decision is to simply cut the man and let him see what he can get on the market while freeing cap space and affording yourself time to sign a replacement. No team is going to be willing to pay him the salary he expected to receive from the Patriots this season; he’d be lucky to get $5 million. Sure, he’s an icon in New England, a fan favorite, Robert Kraft loves him and his wife, but he has been there a decade. Maybe it’s simply time to move on.

-Ryan Hartley

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