Vince Wilfork will today be designated as the New England Patriots' franchise player for the 2010 season, a move which was wholly expected.
The Patriots have confirmed the move, saying that their intention is to eventually sign the Pro Bowl nose tackle to a long-term deal.
"A long-term agreement with Vince Wilfork has been the team's top contractual priority for some time," a team statement said. "Unfortunately, despite numerous conversations and proposals, the goal has not yet been realized. Vince is a tremendous player for our team and remains a significant part of our future plans. It is because of Vince's importance to this organization that we have assigned the franchise designation as we continue to work toward a long-term agreement. We are hopeful that Vince will remain a Patriot for many years to come."
Wilfork was candid about his thoughts on being franchised last month, telling WEEI that he would consider the tag "a slap in the face."
Wilfork will receive a one-year, guaranteed $7.003 million for the coming season.
From here, Wilfork and the Pats can try to work out a long-term deal (which happened in New York last year, with the Giants and running back Brandon Jacobs), or New England could decide to remove the tag, which would make Wilfork a free agent.
Wilfork can try to work out a deal similar to the one Asante Samuel did in 2007, when Samuel got the team to agree not to franchise him a second time if New England won 12 games or Samuel played in 60 percent of the defensive snaps; or he can hold out until Week 10, the last date he can report and still receive a credited season.