Vince Wilfork, a little more than two weeks after demanding a trade from the New England Patriots and emptying out his Gillette Stadium locker, has calmed down and ended his tantrum over the team’s request to restructure his contract. Wilfork agreed to a new deal with the Patriots Thursday and will resume his place as the team’s defensive captain when the 2014 NFL season opens.
Wilfork has made no public statements since reports surfaced that he had reacted angrily to the Patriots request to lower the $7.5 million salary he was to be paid for the 2014 season, the final year of his previous Patriots contract. But yesterday he posted a statement on his Twitter account in which he said he never wanted to leave the New England organization.
“It’s been hard to remain quiet and let things take its course but it has been the best thing to do. Negotiations are never easy especially when you have a 10 year history with a team and more importantly relationships. For those who have supported me I thank you,” Wilfork said in the posting.
Wilfork was then sure to add, “for those who have called me every name in the book I thank you too.”
Most pertinently, however, Wilfork said, “My intentions have never changed. 10 years ago my goal was to retire a Patriot and as I sit here typing this I am closer to achieving my goal. I look forward to getting back to football and helping my team compete and have a chance at winning a Super Bowl.”
The new contract, however, insures only that Wilfork will be in a Patriots uniform for the upcoming season. He’ll be paid a guaranteed salary of $3 million and a total payout of $8 million with bonuses and incentives, including a $2.5 million he receives just for signing the contract.
He will also receive $500,000 if he is on the Patriots’ active roster for one game, and another $300,000 for hitting weight goals.
After 2014, the Patriots have the option to retain Vince Wilfork for each of the following two seasons. If he plays out all three years of the contract, Wilfork could be paid as much as $22.5 million.
The Patriots had asked Wilfork to restructure his salary, to give the team more room under the NFL salary cap — a goal the team has now achieved by keeping their 2004 first-round draft pick on the team.
Vince Wilfork and Tom Brady are now the only two Patriot players who have won a Super Bowl with the team, the last Super Bowl the Patriots won, in 2004.