I joked with (Wilfork). I told him I went down to Florida to make sure he came back, so he kind of owes me a little percent of his contract. He’s the heart and soul of not just the defense but the team. Everyone in that locker room listens to Vince when he speaks. He’s not a guy that is just talking all the time or talking to talk. When he speaks, everyone listens.
Wilfork likely had to sacrifice some money in the short term, although we will have to see the structure of the contract to know for sure, and understand exactly how much. It appears that whatever he gave up in the short term, he has a chance to earn back in future years, with even more upside.

Vince Wilfork | New England Patriots Highlights | Big Vince | HD (by ThePatriotWayMixes)

Vince Wilfork Stays a Patriot!!

Great news and not entirely unexpected given the tone of the last few days. This really solidifies things at the defensive tackle position. Now let’s go get some pass rush and call it an offseason!

Between Belichick cautioning reporters to “verify”, Wilfork stating his pending comments will be his “FIRST” remarks and owner Robert Kraft saying Monday he “surely hopes” that Wilfork will remain with the team, there seems to be a cooling off in progress since Wilfork cleaned out his locker and took down his nameplate. What’s emerged in the past 18 hours is that, while the situation with Wilfork isn’t ideal, it is salvageable.

Nothing would make me happier this offseason than to see the Pats and Wilfork come to a new agreement. I know Vince is a proud man and we saw in his last contract negotiation that things got a little contentious at times, but they still found a way to get things done to keep Vince in New England. Hopefully they can bring it back from the brink once again.

Wilfork’s agent’s next step is to find out Wilfork’s value on the open market, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday. Wilfork’s camp would then weigh Wilfork’s value in free agency against the Patriots’ restructured contract offer and make a decision on the 10-year veteran’s future.

Report: Vince Wilfork Could Be Back With Patriots On Restructured Deal | New England Patriots | NESN.com

Well, he’s not gone yet. All things being equal I’d want Vince back on the roster, no question. But they couldn’t just throw him back in to play 85% of the snaps like he was doing before. As part of a rotation, playing closer to 50% I think he could be really effective still.

What the departure of Wilfork will mean for Patriots

Vince Wilfork was an elite player for the Patriots, especially from 2010-2012 when he became the ultimate piece on Bill Belichick’s defensive chess board. 

Belichick would move Wilfork around to take away a team’s strength and that covered up what were significant holes elsewhere in the defense. There was a time when Wilfork was viewed as nothing more than a 3-4 nose tackle, but Wilfork proved he was a three-down defensive linemen who could slide up and down the line and destroy multiple blockers.

But I also think that Wilfork became somewhat of a crutch for the Pats, and they essentially ran him into the ground. An injury like tearing his Achilles is really not all that surprising considering the wear and tear that added up on a man of Wilfork’s size.

Every year I felt the Pats needed to deepen their defensive tackle rotation and despite their best efforts (Albert Haynesworth, Tommy Kelly, Gerard Warren, Ron Brace) they could never find the consistency or ability next to Big Vince.

So what do the Pats do now?

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To sum, the highest cap number Wilfork can have for the Patriots in 2014 is $11,600,000. The lowest he can have and while being on the roster is $4,555,000. The lowest cap number he can have is after being released – $3.6 million. The question is can Wilfork and the Patriots find a number between $4,555,000 and $11,600,000 that both sides are happy with. There are definitely ways for a deal to happen.

Ways to reduce Vince Wilfork’s cap number :Patriots Salary Cap

Great, thorough read, from PatsCap.com’s Miguel.