"A long-term agreement with Vince Wilfork has been the team's top contractual priority for some time. Unfortunately, despite numerous conversations and proposals, the goal has not yet been realized. Vince is a tremendous player for our team and remains a significant part of our future plans. It is because of Vince's importance to this organization that we have assigned the franchise designation as we continue to work toward a long-term agreement. We are hopeful that Vince will remain a Patriot for many years to come."
Tom E. Curran says it's not tag; it's let's make a deal.
My belief -- after reading the tea leaves and talking briefly with people on both sides prior to the Great Tagging Event -- is that this is way closer to getting done than I figured. You can tell that, right now, neither side wants to piss the other off unnecessarily. Now, this era of good feeling could evaporate with one phone call but negotiations are ongoing which is better than what was going on before the franchise period opened on February 11.
The Wilforks want the Patriots to do the right thing. The Patriots want to do the right thing for Wilfork and themselves. Agreeing on what exactly is the right thing is the obstacle to clear now.
Jeff Howe looks at how the franchising of Vince Wilfork could impact the Patriots' relationship with other players.
If the two sides fail to reach an agreement by July 15, this episode could have detrimental effects in the future. First, the Patriots have to wonder if they’ll get the same effort out of Wilfork, who has been a model citizen in Foxborough in the hopes the team will reward him with a long-term contract. While he’s always been an extreme professional, it’s never easy to forecast how players react after they’ve been angered at the negotiating table.
But it’s not just Wilfork the Patriots have to worry about. They’ve got guys in the locker room such as safety Brandon Meriweather (signed through 2011), wide receiver Wes Welker (2011) and linebacker Jerod Mayo (2012) who have all been paying close attention to this situation. They saw Wilfork act the right way, report to all of his mandatory summer workouts and even play hurt during his contract year. Yet, Wilfork hasn’t been rewarded for it just yet.
Even further than that, free agents and draftees will be more aware of the Patriots’ business patterns. Until a rookie pay scale is put in place, the team’s draft picks -- and their agents -- might try to be more aggressive with their contract demands because of the uncertainty over a second contract years down the road. If they know they could be held hostage by the organization, via restricted free agency or the franchise tag, they might be looking for more loot in their rookie deal.
- Ian Rapoport notes Wilfork wasn't "slapped" with the franchise tag. If anything, the Patriots pleasantly extended it, with the family accepting it with cautious optimism of a long-term extension.
- Karen Guregian notes that according to sources on both sides, there truly has been an effort made to get something done. This may have a happy ending.
- Albert Breer compares the wording of the Wilfork tag statement from the Patriots to others they've issued. The Wilfork wording sets a different, more positive tone.
- Christopher Price senses optimism as Wilfork and the Patriots head towards the next step.
- Albert Breer says the only way this tag works is for both sides to be working towards a real deal.
- Shalise Manza Young says for a man whose heart is very often worn on his sleeve, it will be interesting to see how Wilfork reacts to the tag, assuming a long-term deal is not worked out.
Mike Reiss feels the franchise tag wasn't slapped on, it was more like a love tap.
- Ian Rapoport offers a rundown of the Patriots history with the franchise tag.
- Christopher Price explains the non-exclusive franchise tag and what it means.
- Tom E. Curran challenges those who think Randy Moss was critical of the Patriots. It was a "statement of fact not an indictment."
- Mike Reiss projects some free agent possibilities for the Patriots: Wide Receiver and Tight Ends.
- Jeff Howe says the Patriots have no 2007 Draft regrets thanks to Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Here is his analysis of the 2008 and 2009 Drafts as well.
- Mike Reiss analyzes why LaDainian Tomlinson is not a good fit for New England.
- Paul Jarvey follows rookie ump Paul King's first season in the NFL on Terry McAulay's crew. Interesting what he has to say about the Patriots using the umpire as a pick, especially with Wes Welker.
- Ian Rapoport reports Gillette Stadium is receiving a state-of-the-art turf-lift, the Duraspine PRO system, to be debuted before the New England Lacrosse Classic on April 3rd.
- Adam Schefter (ESPN) explains why the Patriots placed the franchise tag on defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and what it means for the future. (1 min. video)
- Aaron Wilson (Nat'l Football Post) Moss unconcerned with Patriots' lack of an offensive coordinator. He just wants the offense to be productive, and for him to be a productive contributor. Such a slacker.
- John Clayton (ESPN) Podcast: Clayton on Moss (first 3 min.), says Moss was just being honest and angling a bit for a new contract with the Patriots.
- Shutdown Corner (Yahoo! Sports) Randy moss, for some reason, predicts his exit from New England. MJD doesn't know how to handle an athlete's candor and honesty when asked a direct question.
Seah Leahy (USA Today) LaDainian Tomlinson after being cut by Chargers: I want 'to win a championship.' "I do know that I would have to go to a team that has a (proven) quarterback. A place where you know you have a chance to win because of the quarterback." You had one, bud.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Will Tomlinson land in the AFC East?
- Mike Sando (ESPN) Tomlinson, Alexander and the wall.
- Wes Bunting (Nat'l Football Post) The Combine's 'wow' players.
- Pat Kirwan (NFL.com) Fringe first-rounders have shot to assert themselves at Combine.
- Russ Lande (Sporting News) Combine Dish: Offensive players who need to do well.
- Is too much stock put in the Combine? Puting prospects in stressful situations serves a purpose. (Nat'l Football Post)
- Jack Bechta (Nat'l Football Post) NFL Combine: To run or not to run?
- Michael Lombardi (Nat'l Football Post) Diner morning news: Do 40 times really matter?
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Restricted free agents might not show up for offseason work.
- Terrence Moore (NFL Fanhouse) Peyton a double agent? Some think so.