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Caserio: We’re talking with Wilfork about an extension

08.06.09 at 6:31 pm ET
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FOXBOROUGH — According to Patriots’ Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio, the team and nose tackle Vince Wilfork’s representatives are still talking about a contract extension.

Patriots Camp Football

Wilfork is entering the final year of his contract. (AP)

The 6-foot-2, 325-pound Pro Bowl nose tackle is entering the final year of a six-year contract he signed as a rookie, and has stated publicly he would like a new deal.

“Vince [Wilfork] has been a good player for us in our system,” Caserio said Thursday in a press conference at Gillette Stadium. “He has been productive, he has had some success here, and we want to have him around here. Both parties are working on both sides to try to get something resolved.”

Wilfork’s is scheduled to make a salary of $2.2 million this year. But in an offseason where Albert Haynesworth commanded a $100 million deal with the Redskins, he remains relatively underpaid. Wilfork is a quality nose tackle in a league where more and more teams are switching to a 3-4 defense, which could make him a serious commodity if he is allowed to hit the open market.

A first-round pick out of Miami in 2004, the 27-year-old Wilfork has started 67 of the 77 regular season games he’s played in while with New England, including every regular season and postseason game the Patriots have played in since the 2006 playoffs. He was an All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl in 2007, was named a defensive captain the following year and finished second on the team in 85 tackles in 2008.

Prior to his arrival, New England struggled for consistency at the nose tackle position, with the only real success coming when the Patriots retained the services of the massive Ted Washington for a single season in 2003.

“He has been a productive player in our system,” Caserio said of Wilfork. “How he stacks up relative to other players in the league may or may not come into play, but we know in our system he’s been a productive player and some of those other players, you don’t know how they would fit in your system.

“He has been a good player for us and he has been productive, so he is a good player, and I think we are cognizant of how he stacks up the league. He’s a good player.”

Despite the uncertainty, Wilfork has said several times that his focus will not change, and thus far, he has stayed true to his word. He has been on the field for every training camp practice save the two on Wednesday because his wife gave birth, and has looked like his usual impressive self.

“I will not let that (the negotiations) interfere with what I have going on in the field,” Wilfork said earlier in camp. “If I’m healthy, I’ll practice.”

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