Vince Wilfork missed all but four games last season with an Achilles injury. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Vince Wilfork and the Patriots seemingly have patched up any festering issues between them. Wilfork, who reportedly requested his release earlier this month when New England approached him about restructuring his contract, has now done just that. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Wilfork, who had one year and $7.5 million left on his existing deal, has agreed to a three-year, $22.5 million extension.
The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted on March 13 that Wilfork had requested his release. Less than two weeks later, the Boston Herald reported that an angry Wilfork had cleaned out his locker at Gillette Stadium as the standoff between he and the Patriots continued.
"I very much hope we get it done, and I believe he very much would like to do it as well," team owner Robert Kraft told the Herald's Jeff Howe. "We’ve been so lucky to have him. So we’ll see what happens."
Wilfork has been a mainstay on the Patriots' defensive line since the team drafted him in 2004. However, the 32-year-old, 325-pound Wilfork missed all but four games last season after tearing his Achilles. He shot down the possibility that the injury would end his career, but the inability to reach an agreement with the Patriots left his NFL future very much up in the air.
At least for the near future, he's not going anywhere.
"It's been hard to remain quiet and let things take its course but it has been the best thing to do," Wilfork tweeted Thursday. "Negotiations are never easy especially when you have a 10 year history with the team and more importantly relationships. For those who have supported me I thank you; for those who have called me every name in the book I thank you too. My intentions have never changed. [Ten] years ago my goal was to retire a Patriot and as I sit here typing this I am closer to achieving my goal. I look forward to getting back to football and helping my team compete and have a chance at winning a Super Bowl."
Without Wilfork in the lineup last season, the Patriots were forced to mix and match up front using fill-in options like Chris Jones and undrafted free agent Joe Vellano. Returning Wilfork to his spot at nose tackle will free up the Patriots to address their other issues in the draft, including possibly finding a new starter to plant next to Wilfork at DT.