1) You have your best defensive player locked up through 2014: So this one isn’t complicated. Ty Warren is the only player who was locked up even through ’13, which shows this is a pretty significant commitment on both sides.
2) You send a message to your locker room: Think about this … When was the last time the Patriots paid top dollar to keep a guy they drafted when the pressure was on? You’d have to say it was Richard Seymour, and that deal was signed four years ago. Deals like these show younger players still on their rookie deals that, if you work and buy in and perform, you will be rewarded. There’s most certainly an implicit value to that.
3) You get on with your offseason: Let’s face it, any big deal the Patriots were going to make in this uncapped environment was almost going to have to come after this one got done. There really weren’t any two ways around it. It’d have been pretty difficult for the team to negotiate Wilfork’s deal, while opening the vault for someone coming in from the outside, and somehow not poison the talks. Now that Wilfork’s done, that’s not a problem anymore.
4) You gain a powerful recruiting tool: Players sometimes say they only worry about themselves, and tune out all those things around them. That’s crap. They hear and see everything. And unrestricted free agents see deals like Wilfork’s go down, and it shows a team’s commitment. The Patriots can’t hang the “Come gravy train a ring here” sign on the front door and get vets cheap quite the way they used to. But Wilfork is a foundation piece that could help create perception among UFAs that New England will keep winning like it has, which is important if a tie between teams in pursuit of a player has to be broken.