Patriots put franchise tag on Wilfork

NFL Notes

Team says it hopes to reach long-term deal

February 23, 2010|By From Sun news services

The New England Patriots put the franchise tag on Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork on Monday, providing more time for negotiations toward a long-term contract.

The six-year veteran said he hoped the team would use the tag for that purpose.

The Patriots placed a nonexclusive tag on Wilfork, according to That gives the Patriots the right to match any other team's offer or let Wilfork go for two first-round draft picks. An exclusive tag would have tied Wilfork to the Patriots for the season.

As a nonexclusive franchise player, if a long-term deal is not reached, Wilfork would make $7 million with the Patriots in 2011, the average 2009 salary of the five top-paid players at his position.

"A long-term agreement with Vince Wilfork has been the team's top contractual priority for some time," the Patriots said in a statement. "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."

Last month, Wilfork said on WEEI radio in Boston that the franchise tag would be a "slap in the face."

But he struck a more accommodating tone Monday in a posting to the Twitter account of his wife, Bianca.

"After six years of dedicated service I do understand this is a business," it said. "With that being said it is my hope that the tag is applied for its true purpose. For the purpose of allotting more time for us to continue our talks and be able to reach a long term agreement."

Cardinals: Arizona announced the hiring of former Ravens assistant Donnie Henderson as their new defensive backs coach.

Henderson has 26 years of coaching experience, including nine as an NFL assistant with the Jaguars (2008), Lions (2006), Jets (2004-05) and Ravens (1999-2003).

Giants: Kevin Gilbride Jr., the son of offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, has been named offensive quality control coach.

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