ORLANDO, Fla. -- The future of veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork with the Patriots still hangs in the sensitive balance, but something owner Robert Kraft said Monday resonated from this perspective.
"I very much hope we get it done," Kraft said at the NFL's annual meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, "and I believe he very much would like to do it as well."
That last part, assuming it's the way Wilfork truly feels, is the key. It adds crucial context to the contractual disagreement between the sides and suggests that they are still working toward a resolution and this isn't a take-it-or-leave-it, hard-line-drawn-in-the-sand type of deal.
That is more than we knew entering today.
The timeline, as we understand it, goes like this:
1. The Patriots approached Wilfork about adjusting the final year of his contract, which calls for him to earn $7.5 million and count $11.6 million against the salary cap.
2. While unclear what the adjustment might be, Wilfork obviously didn't like it, which led him to ask for his release and, according to the Boston Herald, clean out his locker at Gillette Stadium. The day before that happened, Wilfork tweeted congratulations to former teammate Aqib Talib after Talib signed a big-money deal in Denver.
3. Wilfork went on vacation out of the country.
Things have simmered since Wilfork's request March 13, leading some to wonder if there might be an end game in sight or if this might drag on a bit longer. We haven't heard from Wilfork publicly, but on Monday, Kraft offered another piece of the puzzle with that telling quote.
"I very much hope we get it done, and I believe he very much would like to do it as well."
The image of Wilfork cleaning out his locker and hearing him request his release would make one think the odds were longer for that happening, but it's been almost two weeks since that happened and a lot can change over that time.
Kraft's words sent out a signal of cautious hope that a resolution might be possible.