It seemed to be only a matter of time, and that's exactly what it turned out to be, as the Patriots have placed the franchise tag on nose tackle Vince Wilfork. The team made the announcement on Monday afternoon.
"A long-term agreement with Vince Wilfork has been the team's top contractual priority for some time," the team said in a statement. "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."
CSNNE.com first reported the move, saying that a league source confirmed the decision and that paperwork has been filed with the league.
In having the franchise tag placed on him, Wilfork is guaranteed to make just over $7 million in the 2010 season.
While Wilfork, who just completed the final year of his rookie contract, said getting the franchise tag would be a "slap in the face," there is still time for the Patriots to negotiate a contract with the 28-year-old. The tag simply prevents other teams from signing Wilfork as a free agent.