Ware's deal blows by Haynesworth's blockbuster, which calls for $41 million over its first three years. Haynesworth's deal also contains a poison pill that effectively makes it a four-year, $48 million contract.
Ware's deal includes $51 million over its first four years, but contains no such contract-killing provision. In fact, there's a pretty decent chance he'll make the $78 million over six years, provided he's still producing at 33, when the deal expires.
Hard to say whether Wilfork will be capable of getting into this stratosphere, but there will be a market for him, if he is to come free, because of his versatility and ability to play the nose in the 3-4. Haynesworth is 28. Ware is 27. Wilfork turns 28 next week. Ware's been to three Pro Bowls, Haynesworth two, and Wilfork one.
Now, consider that Jared Allen got $38 million over the first three years of the deal he signed with the Vikings in 2008, and you see what's happening here. The market is changing. Ware's three-year numbers represent an 18 percent jump.
Bottom line: Defensive players aren't going for what they used to. And the one who is perhaps most important to the way the Patriots want to play defense just saw his market value soar from where it might've been nine months ago.