One of the sad things about the NFL offseason is that general managers sometimes have to cut loose hometown favorites. When it comes to the New England Patriots, Nick Caserio is going to have to be that guy and release Vince Wilfork. There are several logical reasons as to why this must be done.
First and foremost, Wilfork is coming off of a torn Achilles tendon. That injury is one of the worst injuries that could occur to football players. Even though Wilfork suffered it early in the 2013 regular season, one still has to wonder how a big man like him would be affected by such an injury.
Secondly, Wilfork’s 2014 cap number is huge. He is set to count $11.6 million against the cap for next season, but is due no guaranteed money. Even if Wilfork had made it through the season with a clean bill of health, he would have had to play lights-out to earn that kind of money.
One also has to factor in Wilfork’s age. The veteran defensive tackle is currently 32 years old, and will be 33 this November. These days, most players over 30 years old are often viewed as in their decline phase. Adding a major injury to the mix certainly does not help Wilfork’s case.
Some people may say that Wilfork should sign a contract extension to lower his 2014 cap number. That should not really be an option given the reasons listed above. Giving Wilfork any solid amount of guaranteed money at this stage would simply be bad business.
Now this is not to say that Caserio could cut Wilfork and then resign him. Wilfork is still a great leader, and could hopefully return as a good run-stuffer. But the best course of action is to release Wilfork and resign him to a contract that would only guarantee a small amount of money for just next season. Anything more than that would be a move used to please Patriots fans rather than benefit the organization.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.