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March 27. 2014 7:57PM

Defensive mainstay Wilfork to stay with Patriots


New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork is shown during a September 2013 game. The Patriots reached an agreement Thursday with Wilfork on a three-year, $22.5 million contract extension. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

The New England Patriots reached an agreement Thursday with mainstay defensive lineman Vince Wilfork on a three-year, $22.5 million contract extension.

NFL Media reported that Wilfork's deal averages $7.5 million per year and includes $3 million guaranteed. The deal keeps the 32-year-old veteran in New England after he had requested his release in early March when the Patriots inquired about his willingness to restructure his contract.

Wilfork's previous contract called for him to make $7.5 million during the 2014 season, with an adjusted salary-cap hit of $11.6 million based on the five-year deal he signed in 2010.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said earlier this week that he hoped to keep Wilfork, one of the mainstays of the New England defense, in Foxborough, Mass.

His wish was fulfilled.

"Going back over the last 20 years, we've had some pretty special people come through, and (Vince) is one of my personal favorites," Kraft said Monday at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Fla. "I'm thinking of Tedy Bruschi and Matt Light and Kevin Faulk and Troy Brown, they made their careers with us. I surely hope Vince will be with us next year."

Wilfork suffered a torn Achilles tendon and played in only four games last season. The 6-foot-2, 325-pound lineman has spent all of his 10 years in the NFL with the Pats, totaling 469 career tackles and 16 sacks.


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