In what could be construed as an attempt to start contract negotiations, nose guard Vince Wilfork was a no-show at all three of last week's Organized Team Activities. Wilfork, in the last year of a $2.2 million deal, is not blind and would've noticed major dollars going to the likes of Albert Haynesworth (7 year $100 million). Young and in the prime of his career, he wants to get paid. However, he shouldn't overestimate the front office's love for him.
Vince fired a shot across the bow by not showing up to OTAs, but Belichick and crew did the same by drafting three defensive tackles, Ron Brace being the most notable of the crew. Belichick is no dummy and the three DTs were clearly a) leverage for negotiations with Vince or b) replacements if things go sour. The thought of not having "The Big Man" to anchor the defense makes me pause. Just when Brady comes back, just when everything looks good, disruption from one of our key players.
There's a lot of turmoil with player/owner relations right now and contract issues are getting tangled in the mess. An uncapped 2010, caused in part by the owners pulling out of the collective bargaining agreement, would be a disaster, especially for successful teams. One tough hit for teams would be severe limits on free agency. Belichick, a master of free agency, would have his hands tied to an extent. Is it possible players like Vince Wilfork could take advantage of this? Knowing the FO can't pull in talent the way it used to probably didn't go unnoticed to Vince and his agent. An uncapped 2010 does a number on team's ability to move players around.
Whether or not that may be on Vince's mind (or his agent's, more than likely), the fact remains that Vince is a cornerstone of this defense. I hope they can come to terms and quickly. I don't like the idea of not seeing #75 down there.