Thoughts on Vince Wilfork and Texans

Vince Wilfork's 11-year tenure with the New England Patriots officially closed on Monday when he announced that he plans to join the Houston Texans. His time with the franchise started with a Super Bowl title and ended with one. Not too many players can say that.

There are two aspects of this decision to dissect:

1. What Wilfork has meant to the Patriots. Wilfork's presence in the middle of the defense will be hard to duplicate, as will his standing as a respected locker-room leader. Wilfork played 73.4 percent of the defensive snaps last season, his role to help clog things up inside while attempting to push the pocket on passing plays. It shouldn't be long before the Patriots release statements from owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick on Wilfork's impact on the franchise and in the community. Not every player gets that treatment, but Wilfork deserves it.

2. Where the Patriots go from here. Four-year veteran Sealver Siliga (6-foot-2, 325) and nine-year veteran Alan Branch (6-foot-6, 325) are now the team's top two big-bodied defensive tackles. They were the Nos. 2 and 3 options behind Wilfork last season. The team could also look to the draft to add a player at that spot. The Patriots still wanted Wilfork back if the sides could agree on a contract, but the feeling from here was that the club probably would have attempted to scale back his workload in 2015 a bit if it worked out. So this is yet another void for them to fill.

The Patriots visit the Texans in 2015, setting up a scenario where Wilfork will play against the team for which he'll one day be inducted into its Hall of Fame.