The next two weeks should tell us more about Vince Wilfork and his contract situation with the Patriots. With Thursday the first day that teams can assign the franchise tag, a piece was put together for ESPNBoston.com recapping Wilfork's situation.
It is my opinion that this is priority No. 1 for the Patriots at this time.
I think they realize that Wilfork is their best defensive lineman and there is no replacement for him on the roster or the open market. I also think they realize that striking a long-term extension would send a message to two important groups: 1) The players in the locker room; 2) The fans who want to see a strong commitment in putting the best possible team on the field and have seen more high-profile departures than high-profile extensions of late.
When Asante Samuel was assigned the franchise tag in 2007, I didn't get the sense a long-term extension was likely to happen in New England. I don't get the same feeling with Wilfork.
That doesn't mean a long-term deal will happen, but I wouldn't be surprised if momentum builds toward that.
The next two weeks, when teams can assign the franchise tag to players, represent an important checkpoint on the road to that possibly happening.