Veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, a 10-year veteran who has spent his entire career with the New England Patriots and has made five Pro Bowls, has been asked to be released by the team per Ian Rapoport. Wilfork was not willing to restructure his contract and appears to prefer testing the free agent market if the team isn't willing to pay his $11.6 million cap figure for 2014.
If the team releases Wilfork, they will save $8 million against the cap, and they have just $10 million in cap room as of Thursday morning according to OvertheCap.com.
Wilfork tore his Achilles tendon in the fourth game of the 2013 season and was placed on injured reserve. He had made the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons and was a first-team All-Pro in 2012 for the first time in his career. Wilfork has been one of the biggest and most effective interior defensive lineman in the NFL since being the 21st overall pick in 2004, when he helped the Patriots win their third title in four years.
SB Nation blog Pats Pulpit has mixed feelings about the possible departure of Wilfork:
Releasing Wilfork will free up nearly eight million in cap space for the Patriots. However, in losing him, the team is losing the cornerstone of their defense from the last decade, a great locker room leader, and the best space eater in all of football.
Wilfork will turn 33 in November.