Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork appeared on the Dale & Holley Show (with Michael Holley and guest host Lou Merloni) to discuss his contract situation on Wednesday morning. With his six-year rookie contract now having ended, Wilfork could become an unrestricted free agent. However, the Patriots have the right to place a franchise tag on the star defensive tackle.
Wilfork made clear, however, that his goal is a long-term contract, whether with the Patriots or another team. The idea of a franchise tag, which would provide likely result in a one-year deal, did not sit well with the 28-year-old.
"I did honor my six-year deal. Now, that six-year deal is up. It’s time for me to move forward, with the Patriots or not with the Patriots," said Wilfork. "[A franchise tag] is decent money for most people out there. What I do, it’s okay.
"But I don’t look at myself as an okay player," Wilfork continued. "Like I said, it’s just basically a slap in my face and it’s insulting to me to tell me I’m an okay player."
Wilfork also suggested that he does believe it important to be part of a winning organization. That said, the defensive tackle made clear that he is not ready to compromise his best opportunity for a significant long-term deal in order to remain in New England.
"I want a long-term deal or I want to be free. Point blank. That’s how I’m looking at it, that’s how my family is looking at it. ... There’s a short window of opportunity for me to make the kind of money I want to make," said Wilfork. "I’m not selling my family short and I’m definitely not selling myself short just to stay back and to win and to be part of a great organization.
"Winning is a big part of sports, but a lot of teams win. A lot of teams win. So we’ll see. We’ll see. I will do what’s best for my family. But I definitely will not sell myself short of my ability. Not at all."
Wilfork said that he and the Patriots have not discussed his contract situation since the the start of the season. At that time, it became apparent to him that the two sides would not reach an agreement, and so he suggested that the team table discussions for the season. Now, with the season over, Wilfork and his agent haven't heard from the Patriots, but the two-time Pro Bowler said that he's not antsy to hear from the team.
"I’m not sitting by the phone waiting for them to call. Either they call or they don’t," said Wilfork. "Whenever they call, they call."