Weekly Mailbag: Vince Wilfork’s motivation, and one last free agent splash

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What Vince Wilfork will we get coming off a bad injury for a guy his size and this offseason contract debacle? –Pigskin Pete from Windham, ME

This is a topic we’ve touched on in the past, but raises another interesting point. It was going to be tough enough for the 325-pounder to come back from a torn Achilles. Now there is another question mark: his motivation. Asking to be released by the Patriots is not a good sign if you are expecting Wilfork to play with his usual fire this season. Then again, he has always been a high character guy and did end up restructuring his contract after all.

At this point in his career, I like to think of Vince Wilfork as Luther “The Shark” Lavay from Any Given Sunday (the character played by the great Lawrence Taylor). Despite a waning career and turmoil with the front office, The Shark had a career year because he played for his family and himself. And he had plenty of bonus incentives in his contract that benefitted both. Vince Wilfork is also a family man with several bonus incentives. What I’m trying to say is motivation should not be an issue. The real question is whether that Achilles is going to hold up.

Are there any other free agents on the market that the Patriots should consider looking at? –Andrew from Providence, RI

Our very own Peter Sherwood touched on this subject last week, listing WR Miles Austin, OL Travelle Wharton, TE Owen Daniels, RB Ronnie Brown, and CB Asante Samuel as potential options for the Pats in free agency. While Daniels did visit New England, he has since signed with the Baltimore Ravens. Travelle Wharton could be a good fit, but is now leaning towards retirement. I told Mr. Sherwood from the get-go that I don’t think there’s any chance of Asante Samuel coming back to New England.

That still leaves Miles Austin and Ronnie Brown. Both are veteran skill position players who could come in at relatively low cost and help this Patriot offense. Andrew, keep your eyes and ears peeled for breaking news regarding one or both of these players in the coming weeks.

Thanks to everyone for the emails. Tweet all your Patriots-related questions, comments, and stories to @cover32_NE or @TC_Howard. You can also email questions to tanner@cover32.com.