Patriots and Vince Wilfork talking new contract

One of the biggest priorities this offseason for the Patriots is how to handle Vince Wilfork.

The Patriots star nose tackle missed most of last season with a torn achilles, a worrisome injury for someone who is ~325 lbs.

He is also set to have the second highest salary on the team next season, behind only Tom Brady. Wilfork will count against the cap for $11,600,000. With the Patriots having so many of their own free agents to sign other improvements that need to be made on the roster, getting that number down is a priority.

Of course, we all knew this a long time ago, but it seems the two sides are finally talking about ways to help fix this contract.

Mike Reiss of reports that the Patriots have had recent discussions with representatives for Wilfork about altering his contract. Presumably, the Patriots would like to reduce Wilfork’s number this year, either by getting him to accept a pay cut or getting him to take an extension that spreads some of this year’s $11.6 million cap hit into future years.

Wilfork is getting up there in age (he's 33) and the Pats really hold all the leverage here. If Wilfork doesn't agree to an extension or restructure, they could easily just release him and only take a $3,600,000 hit against the cap. Back in March of 2010, Wilfork signed a five year, $40 million contract with $25 million guaranteed.

The Pats currently have $12,199,254 in cap space. Getting Wilfork's massive number down would allow them to get that number down without releasing players they may want to keep around (Tommy Kelly, Adrian Wilson). They can save even more money by extending Devin McCourty and Stephen Gostowski.

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