Vince Wilfork Tells the New England Patriots: "Show Me The Money!"

Frances White@WestEndGirl62Analyst IIJune 16, 2009

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 1:  Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots rests between plays on the sidedline against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium January 1, 2006 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

We all remember Tom Cruises' role in Jerry Maguire, a super-uber sports agent who wanted his client to get top dollar for his services. The famous scene from that movie has Cuba Gooding Jr. imploring Tom Cruise to say "show me the money" over the phone.

The New England Patriots are the Donald Trump of the NFL when it comes to contract negotiations for their own free agents. The master helmsman of the decision making process is Bill Belichick himself.

The two opposing forces are on a collision course diametrically opposed to what they think Vince Wilfork is worth. 

To his credit, Wolfork has only missed the OTA's, causing as little waves as possible.  He is showing goodwill by attending charity events, and even spoke to Boston sports radio hosts Dale and Holley on WEEI about his contract situation. 

Wilfork was very diplomatic in his response, but may have weakened his bargaining position by doing so. 

Wilfork has been the middle man for the Patriot defense since his rookie season. He gives the Patriots a player whose leverage at nose tackle makes it hard for opposing centers to move him backwards, and he has been a part of one of the Patriots' championship runs. 

At 27 years old, he may only have three or four productive years left. In 2008, he recorded a career-high 66 tackles and tied his career high with two sacks.

Wilfork rarely misses a defensive assignment, and in 2007 was named to his first Pro Bowl team. He has made 51 of a possible 61 starts since joining the Patriots, and played a major role in the 2006 defense that only allowed 14.81 points per game.

His performance has rarely dropped, and yet the Patriots are still not willing to give him the money he wants.  

They drafted Ron Brace who, at 6'3'', gives them more height at the nose tackle. Brace is a strong run defender and, lets face it, Wilfork is not known for running players down from behind. The Patriots have the luxury of bringing Brace along slowly while having Wilfork in the fold.

Wilfork, to his credit, has publicly stated that he wants to be a Patriot. His actions prove that his word is his bond. It was taken as a dumb move since he did not take a firmer stance to his contract demands. 

Playing nose tackle is a thankless job, and it is rare that a nose tackle can demand top dollar on the open market.

In the end, the Patriots will do the right thing by Wilfork and resign him.

But it may not be for the amount of money, or time, that he thinks he deserves.


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