The way [the Patriots] treat people is not something I agree with.” -- Former Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel
"I don't think they care about you, in my opinion," Samuel told the Boston Globe from Miami, where he was practicing with the NFC Pro Bowl team. "They didn't care about me. So do what's best for you and your family."
Having just finished playing the final season of his six-year rookie contract, Wilfork is looking for a long-term deal and a big payday. The Patriots could throw a wrench in the works by placing the franchise tag on him.
Samuel was in the same position Wilfork currently faces with the Patriots. The team slapped him with a franchise tag in 2007 after Samuel had played four seasons in New England and was vocal about his desire for a long-term contract that he deemed was fair market value. Part of Samuel's deal to play under the franchise tag reportedly was an agreement that if the Patriots won 12 games or Samuel played 60 percent of the team's defensive snaps, he would not be tagged the next season.
If tagged, Wilfork would make $7M
The franchise and transition tag numbers for 2010 have been released, and these are important from a Patriots perspective in regards to nose tackle Vince Wilfork.
If the Patriots and Wilfork don't agree on a contract extension by late February, the team is expected to place the franchise tag on Wilfork. That figure would be $7.003 million.
The franchise tag is the average of the top five salaries at the position from the previous year. Wilfork earned $2.2 million in 2009, but he's seeking a long-term contract that gives him more security. Under the franchise tag, assuming Wilfork signed the tender, it would be a one-year deal.
In the event that Wilfork is assigned the tag, he could still sign with another team, but that club would have to give the Patriots draft-pick compensation. Because of that, it is rare for a player assigned the franchise tag to be signed by another team.
After the Patriots went 16-0 that season Samuel was a free agent and signed a six-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Samuel told the Globe on Friday he thought the way the team handled his situation would influence how they might approach Wilfork.
"The way they treat people is not something I agree with," Samuel said, "but everybody has their own opinion."
Wilfork has expressed his opinion on his contract status several times over the last few days, most recently telling the Globe on Friday he was done discussing it until he either hears from the team or something happens.
"I already talked about it," Wilfork said, "so I don't want to keep hammering at it."
On Thursday, Wilfork told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that if things did not work out for the Patriots, it would be "a dream come true" to play for either the Miami Dolphins or Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wilfork played collegiately at the University of Miami and is a Florida native.
"I love great weather. I love football. It doesn't matter where I play," Wilfork told the Sun-Sentinel. "I just want to have security for my family. I would love to stay in New England if I had the chance. I love New England because of my teammates, my family. My son, the friends and connections we've made up there, it's some great people up there. But if it doesn't work out I'll weigh my options, I tell you that."
On Wednesday, Wilfork said he would consider it a "slap in the face" if the Patriots placed the franchise tag on him.
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