Longtime Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork has requested his release, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). While no further details have surfaced yet, it had been expected that the club and Wilfork would have to restructure the veteran’s contract at some point in the near future if he was to remain in New England.
Entering the final year of his contract, Wilfork had been on the books for a cap hit of $11.6MM in 2014. With $3.6MM of dead money included in that amount, the Pats would create $8MM in cap savings if they were to release the 32-year-old. According to Rapoport and Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter links), there had been no recent talks between the team and Wilfork, and the idea of reworking his contract was a non-starter for the former first-round pick.
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). If the five-time Pro Bowler were to hit the open market, he would draw plenty of interest from virtually every team in need of interior defensive line help.