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Friday, March 5, 2010
Wilfork signed to record deal

By Mike Reiss

The New England Patriots have paid big money to their big man in the middle by inking nose tackle Vince Wilfork to a five-year, $40 million extension today, according to a league source.

"We are pleased to say we will be here for many more years to come," Wilfork said on his Twitter account.

The deal includes an $18 million signing bonus and $25 million guaranteed, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The contract makes Wilfork the highest paid nose tackle in the NFL, provides him the long-term security he desires, and ensures the Patriots – hurt by the departures of several impact players in recent years – retain a key part of their defense.

Wilfork, who was assigned the franchise tag on Feb. 22, was called the team’s number one contractual priority by owner Robert Kraft.