The big news around the NFL this morning is that the New England Patriots will not pick up the option of defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, making him a free agent. It's not a surprise, but it's still noteworthy and significant.
Wilfork handled it with class with this tweet earlier this morning:
Morning guys ... Please read below this will be my only statement pic.twitter.com/gClv03hqet— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) March 5, 2015
He writes: "I want to take this time to just let everyone know that I was informed on Tuesday that the patriots will not be picking up my option. I'm in a good place I have a great relationship with the Patriots organization. Please know how blessed my family and I have been to be able to play for 11 years in New England for a amazing organization. The love you guys as fans have shown me have been my inspiration year in and year out… your messages your stories your conversations and support always touch my heart. New England has been and always will be my home. I have played 11 years for the greatest head coach ever! I've played next to Men that I now have as brothers for a life time, a first class organization. I came back from a season ending injury when most doubted me and then won the super bowl in my come back year… New England has been great to me and my family… Can I still play football? Hell yea! do I still love football? Hell yea! One thing for sure is I ail always be a fixture in New England forever… This will always be my home!! I won a Super Bowl my rookie year I won one this year!! 11 years with one great organization 11 years married to the love of my life 3 beautiful healthy kids… One major injury lots of gas still left in the tank… All I can say is Im blessed, Im thankful, Im grateful… I will take my time think things through take into consideration many things but mainly my family and see where life goes from there… But regardless remember I will always remain a New Englander a Patriot forever."
In eleven seasons with the Patriots, Wilfork racked up 516 tackles, 16 sacks, four forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, three interceptions, and 25 passes defensed. He was a five-time Pro Bowler, a first-team All-Pro in 2012, a four-time second-team All-Pro, and was a part of four AFC champion teams and two Super Bowl champions - as Wilfork noted, in his first and (likely) last seasons with the Patriots. He had an $8.9 million option for 2015 which the Patriots declined to pick up, making him a free agent.
So what does this mean for the Colts? Should the team pursue Wilfork? In short, yes they should. He's a good run-stopping defensive lineman who, though not the force he once was, can still give the Colts better play than they've gotten along their defensive line in a long time. He is 33-years old (he'll turn 34 during the season) and is entering his 12th year in the league. He's not a long-term option, but for a Colts team that is trying to get to the Super Bowl now, he could step in and be an immediate help. So yes, the Colts should look into the possibility of signing Vince Wilfork. If they are convinced that he can still play, he would absolutely be a big help along the defensive line. Of course, a lot of this likely depends on whether or not they plan to pursue Ndamukong Suh.
Another interesting thing to keep an eye on from this situation is that of Patriots safety Devin McCourty. It wouldn't be a bad guess to wonder if part of the reason for the Patriots declining Wilfork's option was in an effort to clear up cap room to re-sign the safety. That would obviously impact the Colts because a number of people, including right here on the site, have said that McCourty should be a guy the Colts go after in free agency.
What are your thoughts on Vince Wilfork? Should the Colts sign the defensive lineman?