This morning on Twitter, "josereyes0" wrote: "In retrospect, your Wilfork contract proposal wasn't far off, only $2 million plus 1 year more in real contract. Seemed length was big for VW."
Thanks for the thought, josereyes0. It had me going back to a blog entry on Jan. 30, when the idea was to craft a no-agenda-toward-either-side contract that might work for both Wilfork and the Patriots.
In the end, as you noted, the five-year, $40 million deal Wilfork signed -- which included an $18 million signing bonus and $25 guaranteed -- was richer than what was proposed here. Based on the "media" proposal, the real deal would be considered a "win" for Wilfork, his wife Bianca, and agent Kennard McGuire.
With that in mind, I think the Patriots stepped up to the plate on this contract.
In the end, it seems that the key factor in any negotiation is finding a comparable player and working off those contract numbers. I could see where that might have made the Wilfork negotiation a challenge, because there aren't many top-flight 3-4 nose tackles in the NFL. And then there were questions as to how the market would change in an uncapped season.
With all that in mind, it wouldn't surprise me if the Steelers' $7 million-per-season deal with Casey Hampton, struck in the week before free agency, played a part in helping both sides feel comfortable with what they ultimately negotiated. The deal makes Wilfork the highest paid 3-4 nose tackle in the history of the NFL.
It's well deserved.