SATURDAY, 12:26pm: NFL Network reporter Albert Breer breaks down Wilfork’s “complicated” contract in a series of tweets. The stout defensive tackle can earn all $8MM next season if he plays at least 70% of snaps, all 16 games, and if the team ranks in the top-10 in scoring defense and advances to the divisional playoffs. Day one of the 2015 League Year will be pivotal for Wilfork, who is due a $4MM roster bonus and $3MM base salary. He has a $5MM base salary in 2016.
THURSDAY, 8:07pm: Ben Volin of the Boston Globe adds two interesting notes in regard to Wilfork (both via Twitter). If Wilfork makes his full $8MM, that means that the Patriots would have ultimately saved about $3.6MM from the original contract. Additionally, there is no guaranteed money for the big man after 2014.
4:59pm: Schefter clarifies (via Twitter) that Wilfork’s new deal is really more like a one-year, $8MM contract, with an option for two additional seasons. It sounds like the contract may include playing-time incentives for 2014, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, who tweets that Wilfork can earn the full $8MM if he’s healthy.
4:34pm: Vince Wilfork will remain a Patriot after all. Despite having reportedly asked for his release earlier in the offseason, Wilfork has reached an agreement with the Pats to extend his contract through the 2016 season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Schefter reports that the two sides extended and restructured Wilfork’s deal, resulting in a three-year pact worth $22.5MM. Wilfork himself had published a tweet a few minutes earlier that suggested he’d be remaining in New England.
Word broke two weeks ago that Wilfork had requested his release after the Patriots approached him about accepting a restructured deal. Although the 32-year-old reportedly cleared out his locker, team owner Robert Kraft expressed optimism this week that some sort of compromise could be reached, and he and coach Bill Belichick worked to mend fences and repair the situation.
Entering the final year of his previous contract, Wilfork had been on the books for a cap hit of $11.6MM in 2014. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), the new deal still gives the veteran defensive lineman the right to earn the $8MM he was previously in line for, but presumably the extension reduces his ’14 cap number. Rapoport adds in another tweet that only $3MM of Wilfork’s new contract is guaranteed.
Wilfork, who will be returning from a torn Achilles in 2014, appeared in just four games for the Pats in 2013, but has consistently posted positive grades at defensive tackle for the club in his healthy seasons, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). In 2012, the five-time Pro Bowler recorded three sacks, three forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries, to go along with 49 tackles.
In his Twitter statement linked above, Wilfork indicated that his goal has always been to retire a Patriot and that this new agreement brings him one step closer to achieving that goal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.