This is the sixth time in nine years the Patriots have used the tag -- it was also used on Adam Vinatieri (2002, 2005), Tebucky Jones (2003), Asante Samuel (2007) and Matt Cassel (2009). Only Jones and Cassel left the team in the year they were franchised, although all four players wound up taking off in the long run.
The last four times the Patriots have used the tag, the sides have failed to reach a long-term deal.
Wilfork's non-exclusive tag allows him to negotiate with other clubs. But the Patriots retain matching rights and any club signing him, if New England were to decline to match in such a circumstance, would have to fork over two first-round picks.
Wilfolk, who just completed the sixth year of his rookie contract, said in late January he had great concerns about being slapped with the tag.
The news was first reported by CSNNE.com.