Kyle Arrington sits atop a now-cloudy Patriots cornerback position. (NFL Game Rewind)
It was Herman Edwards who once said “a goal without a plan is a wish.”
There is reason to believe a goal is in mind for the New England Patriots after one week of moves. With Darrelle Revis a New York Jet, Brandon Browner a New Orleans Saint, Shane Vereen a New York Giant, and Vince Wilfork a Houston Texan, there’s also reason to believe there is a plan.
But exactly what that plan entails hasn’t been shared by head coach Bill Belichick. And when it is, it won’t be with words.
Time will tell how the organization will address the key positional needs on the roster. It could be told in the coming weeks, in a trade, in the draft, or in the season opener next September. But right now, however it may ultimately be addressed, New England is heading into the second week of the free-agent process with newfound vacancies.
Vince Wilfork announced Monday that he’s joining the Texans. (NFL Game Rewind)
Vince Wilfork is a Houston Texan.
The 33-year-old defensive tackle, whose option was not picked up by the New England Patriots last week, announced the move via Twitter on Monday afternoon.
“This has been a very interesting process for me and my family,” Wilfork said in a letter, “one we have taken very seriously and given a lot of thought. We want to thank the Kraft family and the entire Patriot organization for the last 11 years, however we will be starting a new chapter in our lives as Houston Texans.”
Stevie Johnson visited the Patriots to start free agency’s second week. (NFL Game Rewind)
The first wave of NFL free agency crashed down on the New England Patriots, seeing the likes of Shane Vereen, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner head into shore with the New York Giants, New York Jets and New Orleans Saints, respectively.
But now, a week out, it’s time to revisit where head coach Bill Belichick, director of player personnel Nick Caserio and the Patriots stand.
It’s time to see what’s been retained, added and subtracted from the roster. And also, what’s remaining heading into the second week.
Vince Wilfork’s free-agent offers have parlayed into visits. (NFL Game Rewind)
The visiting process has begun for Vince Wilfork.
The first stop on his recruiting trip arrived Sunday night with the Houston Texans, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
It is a two-day visit for the 33-year-old defensive tackle, who’s now exploring the free-agent circuit with his wife, Bianca, after the New England Patriots declined his option last week.
Vince Wilfork is assessing his options in free agency. (NFL Game Rewind)
For the first time in his 11-year NFL career, Vince Wilfork is looking at other opportunities.
The former New England Patriots defensive tackle, who announced two weeks ago that the organization decided not to pick up his option for 2015, has been tied to several teams since the free agency began Tuesday night.
“There are about five or six other teams, mostly AFC teams, couple in the NFC, that are looking to add a player of Vince’s magnitude,” Wilfork’s agent, Kennard McGuire, told FOX26 in Houston.
Vince Wilfork has drawn interest in free agency. (NFL Game Rewind)
The New England Patriots have areas to address after losing out on Darrelle Revis. But there are areas of the roster besides cornerback that remain unresolved.
The status of the defensive tackle position, potentially without 11-year pro Vince Wilfork, is one of them.
Wilfork announced in a letter last week that the team would decline his two-year option before the start of unrestricted free agency March 10. And while that seemed to mark the 33-year-old’s farewell from Foxborough at the time, it doesn’t seem that the door has closed just yet for the five-time Pro Bowler and seven-time captain.
The Patriots have declined to pick up Vince Wilfork’s two-year option. (Oliver Thomas)
If Vince Wilfork’s last game as a New England Patriot was the Super Bowl, then he’ll leave the same way he arrived.
As a champion. A leader. A nose.
The defensive tackle announced Thursday that the organization that drafted him in the first round 11 years ago will not pick up his two-year option. And that decision means the second longest-tenured Patriot behind Tom Brady will be a free agent by 4 p.m. on March 10.
The focus of New England’s backfield has shifted. (NFL Game Rewind)
The New England Patriots have 60 players under contract for the 2015 season.
Among them are the likes of Vince Wilfork and Darrelle Revis, who will have options the organization will have to pick up or renegotiate. Not among them are the likes of Devin McCourty and Stephen Gostkowski, who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.
But the dust has yet to settle on those decisions.
Vince Wilfork is looking ahead to his 12th NFL season. (NFL Game Rewind)
After his 2013 season ended with a torn Achilles in September, Vince Wilfork’s 2014 season ended with a Super Bowl in February. And already, the New England Patriots defensive tackle has his sights set on another.
“The way I felt, there’s no way in the world this is my last season,” Wilfork told WEEI’s Dale & Holley Tuesday afternoon. “No, I’ve worked too hard to get back to this level. Body feels good, so I doubt this was my last one.
Vince Wilfork will play in his fourth Super Bowl on Sunday. (NFL Game Rewind)
Vince Wilfork didn’t know if he’d get back to this point. He didn’t know much he’d miss it.
The 6-foot-2, 344-pound defensive tackle was a freshman on a 12-0 Miami Hurricanes Rose Bowl team in 2001. He was a sophomore on a 12-1 Fiesta Bowl team in 2002. He was a junior on an 11-2 Orange Bowl team in 2003.
Wilfork was used to winning. The ‘U’ went 35-3 over his tenure there. And even when he left as a New England Patriots first-round pick in April of 2004, it didn’t leave him.
The Patriots went 17-2 on the way to being crowned AFC champion and Super Bowl XXXIX champion during Wilfork’s rookie season. He played in every game along the way to that run, starting seven behind a 14-year veteran in Keith Traylor, who had been in the league since Wilfork was 10.
But Wilfork didn’t fully grasp the moment then, as the Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 24-21 to raise the Lombardi Trophy. He was 23 years old. His teams had gone 52-5 in four years. He had two rings in the two highest tiers of the sport. And after the Patriots had secured three in four years, he thought his third would arrive just as fast as the last one.