One of the more surprising elements of Vince Wilfork’s monthlong contract standoff with the Patriots was how so many fans seemed to turn against Wilfork, one of the team’s most beloved players for the past 10 years.
Wilfork has been the heart and soul of the defense and has given countless hours of his time to improve our community, yet I saw a startling amount of anti-Wilfork sentiment from fans, who railed against him with every cliché in the book: He’s a spoiled athlete, doesn’t know how good he has it, should realize that he’s not worth the money anymore, and on and on.
But fans and media need to keep in mind that the NFL is not like the NBA or Major League Baseball, where star players like Miguel Cabrera sign for an ungodly sum of $292 million, role players like Anderson Varejao get $48 million guaranteed, and has-beens like Josh Beckett still get to collect their $16 million annual salary.
In the NFL, most players have absolutely zero leverage, because of their nonguaranteed contracts and a new collective bargaining agreement that squeezes them six ways from Sunday.
You’ll never see me blame an NFL player for holding out or throwing a little hissy fit as Wilfork did.
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