Stephan Savoia/Associated Press
Vince Wilfork's salary-cap figure, along with his age, keeps steadily rising. Mike Reiss from ESPN.com has the figures:
Wilfork is due to earn $7.5 million in base salary in 2014, the final year of his deal. His salary-cap charge is a hefty $11.6 million. He turns 33 in November and is coming off a torn Achilles injury that ended his 2013 season after four games.
Meanwhile, the Patriots can absorb the salary, as they aren't snug to the salary cap like the Pittsburgh Steelers or Dallas Cowboys, both of whom recently restructured and extended contracts because they needed the space. So New England's hand isn't forced. But every bit of salary-cap space helps when building a roster, and Wilfork could provide a significant amount of it by reworking his deal.
As Reiss states, the Patriots don't have to do anything. However, if they want to add—or retain—some impact players this offseason, they need to free up some cap space. The easiest way to do that is to re-sign Wilfork to an extension, convert his 2013 salary into a signing bonus and spread out the damage over the next three years.
If that can be accomplished—it worked with Troy Polamalu—the Patriots would be in the driver's seat to hang on to both of their coveted free agents: Aqib Talib and Julian Edelman.
Will Vince Wilfork be amenable to helping out the only team that he has played for? If he wants to retire a Patriot, he'll need too.
Verdict: Strong Buy