Most Tennessee Titans fans were hopeful that after the World Champion New England Patriots designated Safety, Devin McCourty as a free agent, there was a possibility that he would join his twin brother Jason in the Titans defensive backfield.
When the news hit the airways on Thursday, that New England had cut Defensive Tackle, Vince Wilfork, the chances of Tennessee having a shot at the NFL’s second-ranked free agent went from slim to none.
New England Head Coach, Bill Belichick has long been regarded as a master of the NFL’s salary cap system, and 33 year-old Defensive Tackle, Vince Wilfork became its latest victim.
With the status of his shut-down corner, Darrell Revis up in the air, there was no way that a Safety of Devin McCourty’s status was getting out of Foxboro.
By cutting the 12 year veteran out of “The U”, Belichick clears over $8 million in salary cap space, that will only cost him a touch over $800,000 in dead money. He also avoids a $4 million roster bonus which was due on March 10th.
Wilfork told ESPN.com reporter, Mike Reiss that although he was disappointed in the move, he was expecting it.
"“I’m in a good place,” Wilfork wrote in his statement. “I have a great relationship with the Patriots organization. Please know how blessed my family and I have been to be able to play 11 years in New England for an amazing organization. ”“New England has been and always will be my home,” he added later in the statement."
Reiss further reported:
"Wilfork returned from a torn Achilles tendon in 2014 and played 73.4 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. His primary responsibility was to take on multiple blockers against the run and provide a powerful pocket-pushing presence up the middle on passing plays.Wilfork lauded Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Twitter, calling him “the greatest head coach ever” and saying he plans to play in 2015."
The likely scenario here is that Vince Wilfork will re-negotiate his salary so he can stay in New England, but if the Pats are ready to move forward without him, I think he belongs at the top on the Tennessee Titan’s free agency short-list.
"“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.”"
If Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 defense is really going to have a chance to succeed in Nashville, the Titans need a dominating Nose Tackle who can eat up blockers at the point of attack. Someone who the offense has to scheme for, and can occupy two or three opponents.
I had made an earlier bid for University of Washington DT, Danny Shelton in the draft, but what could be better than having a grizzled veteran anchoring the Titans defensive front?
"“Can I still play football? Hell yea! Do I still love football? Hell yea!” he wrote, citing that he has suffered just “one major injury” in his career and has “lots of gas still left in the tank.”"
The pass rush, and run support all depend on the Defensive line to either stand their ground, or make a push at the line of scrimmage. Vince Wilfork is not only able to provide the anchor, he also plays the run.
Wilfork has eleven years playing in the 3-4 scheme, and with two Super Bowl rings, is a proven winner. He says he has some gas left in the tank, and unless the Patriots are able to make some Bill Belichick magic here, the Tennessee Titans need to open the checkbook, and consider making him a Titan!