The Patriots today announced that they have placed the franchise tag on nose tackle Vince Wilfork, meaning he’ll be with New England at least for the 2010 season. The move was done according to the team in an effort to continue negotiating a long-term agreement.
The team released the following about the move. “A long-term agreement with Vince Wilfork has been the team’s top contractual priority for some time. Unfortunately, despite numerous conversations and proposals, the goal has not yet been realized. Vince is a tremendous player for our team and remains a significant part of our future plans. It is because of Vince’s importance to this organization that we have assigned the franchise designation as we continue to work toward a long-term agreement. We are hopeful that Vince will remain a Patriot for many years to come.”
The 28-year old has been has appeared in 90 regular season games, including 80 as a starter, and has appeared in 12 playoff games with 10 starts since being selected by the Patriots in the first round (21st overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-2-inch, 325-pound nose tackle has recorded 449 tackles (257 solo) and 7.5 sacks for his career. The University of Miami product was selected by his teammates to be a captain in 2008 and 2009. The Patriots’ defense has finished in the top 10 four times in Wilfork’s six seasons.
Last season, Wilfork started 13 regular season and one playoff game at nose tackle and was elected to the Pro Bowl after leading the Patriots defensive linemen with 65 total tackles.