Jeff Howe says the Patriots decision on Wilfork is about more than dollars and cents.
Wilfork will turn 29 in November. Think of this from the Patriots' side for a second. With the increasing possibility of a lockout in 2011, would they really want to give a guy a long-term extension, lose a full season toward the end of the prime of his career, and get him back on the field as a 31-year-old? Granted, 31 isn't the new AARP age, but it's tough to give big money to a player whose career could be shortened by a work stoppage.
If the Patriots do franchise Wilfork -- a move that has been heavily anticipated for months -- they'll lose any chance they might have had to sign him to a long-term extension after 2010, because he'll likely wash his hands with the organization. He'll be able to hold out but will eventually have to play in the regular season to earn his year's worth of eligibility. Basically, if Wilfork decided he’d hold out for all of 2010, he wouldn't get paid and would also remain in the Patriots' control for the following season.
In terms of dollars and cents, franchising Wilfork would be a good move for the Patriots. But business isn't just black and white. The front office and ownership would continue to send a poor message to its players, as well as players around the league and future draft picks, that they're only as valuable as their rookie contract and first franchise tag.
Adam Schefter joined WEEI's the Dennis & Callahan show and talked about potential Patriots offseason moves, the coordinator situation and what impact the Super Bowl had on Manning and Brees.
Did you hear anybody around the league saying the Patriots are slipping?
I never heard that from anybody. I don’t know that that’s the case. I think we’ve seen players time and time again come back stronger from these surgeries the second year than the first. And if Tom Brady comes back stronger in the second year as I expect him to and as most people around the league expect him to – are you telling me that the Patriots with all those picks and Tom Brady coming back to as close as Tom Brady as possible, aren’t going to be a formidable threat?
They’ve got some significant questions to address this offseason. They’ve got the Vince Wilfork issue/headache because he has now played six years and he wants to be a free agent and they’re going to want to keep him there with a franchise tag and so that’s going to be a little tricky. You’ve got to come up with playmakers on offense, you don’t have a real running threat, so they need another receiver, they need another running back, the offensive line looked a little shaky – so they’ve got some real needs. They need to retool, there’s no question they have some needs to address. They also have a lot of picks. And I think they’ll be smart enough to figure out which players to bring in and which players to not bring in.
Andy Hart begins his pre-Draft research.
Chris Gasper notes Randy Moss is entering the last year of his contract with the Patriots in 2010, and currently there is no obvious heir apparent to him on the roster. Moss will turn 33 on Saturday.
- Ian Rapoport reports the first day of being able to use the franchise tag came and went without any activity by the Patriots.
- Albert Breer offers some reasons why Vince Wilfork hasn't been tagged yet.
- Mike Reiss notes the Patriots also will have to tender offers to three restricted free agents before March 5. Logan Mankins, Stephen Gostkowski and Pierre Woods.
- Mike Reiss offers the transcript of his weekly online chat. Mike thinks the Patriots and Wilfork will work out a deal within the 2-week time frame. Worth a read.
- Tom E. Curran feels the hot Peppers talk needs to cool down.
- Jeff Howe breaks down each team's needs and looks at who they might pick in the first round of the Draft. Here are picks 1-16, and picks 17-32.
- Mike Reiss analyzes potential draft pick California RB Jahvid Best.
- Mike Reiss notes Tom Brady is on the course at Pebble Beach. Even his bad shots turn into something good. (28 second video)
- Mike Triplett (The Times-Picayune) At some point in the next year or two, the Saints will make Brees one of the richest players in NFL history. Think $20 million per year.
- Shutdown Corner (Yahoo! Sports) The 12 moments we'll remember from the 2010 NFL Playoffs.
- Michael Lombardi (Nat'l Football Post) Draft order changes things. New restrictions are likely to create more trades.
- Wes Bunting (Nat'l Football Post) 2010 NFL mock draft: Take 1. Pats take California RB Jahvid Best.
- Don Banks (SI) Inside the NFL: Offseason burning questions for the NFC.
- Jim Trotter (SI) Inside the NFL: Offseason burning questions for the AFC.
- Vic Carucci (NFL.com) Saints Super win was perfect ending to entertaining decade in the NFL.
- Kevin Van Valkenburg (Baltimore Sun) Five great snowy moments in sports history.
- Mike Beacom (Pro Football Weekly) Time to trim Manning back to size.
- Andy Benoit (NY Times) Was Polian out of line in criticizing his offensive line?
- Jason Whitlock (Fox Sports) The ten greatest QBs of all time. Whitlock manages to turn Manning's interception into a racial issue, "a black defensive back outsmarted a beloved white quarterback. That's a truth many of you can't handle." What??????
- Michael Blunda (Pro Football Weekly) Top 10 stories of past NFL season.