Patriots owner Robert Kraft, attending the NFL combine in Indianapolis, said Wednesday he thinks the team is "very close" to a contract with Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork and that he hopes negotiations will wrap up soon, according to reports.
"We have a budget we've set for next year. Our first priority is with Vince," Kraft told the Boston Herald. "I think we've had some positive discussions. We're very close. I hope we can conclude it soon."
Kraft later added: "Look, we love Vince. He and [his wife] Bianca have been a special part of our franchise. We love having him here. I hope he's here for a long time to come. We're trying to do everything we can to make that happen."
The Patriots earlier this week put the franchise tag on Wilfork, meaning that if the sides don't come to an agreement on a long-term contract he will make $7 million this season.
Kraft also addressed comments made by Randy Moss on Saturday. Moss told reporters he doesn't expect to re-sign with New England after his contract is up next year, and that "the Patriots don't pay."
"Do you know how much he [Moss] has made over the last two years? Over $20 million, so I don't think we don't pay for quality and I think you can see that," Kraft told reporters.
Kraft said he didn't view the remarks as "anti-Patriot," according to the Boston Globe.
"He's a smart business man too," said Kraft. "He's getting himself positioned."
Kraft did not say whether the Patriots would try to extend quarterback Tom Brady's deal before it expires after next season, saying the team was working on "other priorities right now." However, he didn't sound like he was going to let his star quarterback get away.
"We're so lucky to have Tom Brady and his situation will be dealt with at the appropriate time," Kraft said, according to Comcast Sportsnet. "There's no one in our organization that isn't a huge Tom Brady fan and I know Tom Brady is a pretty big fan [of the Patriots organization]. At the appropriate time we'll deal with that, and we're trying to deal with some other priorities right now, to build a team so we can win."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.