The Patriots are ceding a lot in this extension. Rather than getting Vince Wilfork to take a pay cut, or outright cutting him, saving 8 million dollars and getting a comparable replacement like Kevin Williams for half that price, the Patriots have guaranteed 3 million dollars of Wilfork’s 2014 salary, essentially locking them into paying him 8 million dollars for next season. In return, they get the ability to spread his cap hit out over multiple years and the option to keep him for 2015 and 2016 at a combined salary of 14.5 million (an option they almost definitely won’t use, or at least shouldn’t use).
Vince Wilfork is not worth that 8 million dollar salary. He’s going into his age 33 season and coming off of a significant injury. He was Pro Football Focus’ 11th ranked defensive tackle in 2012 and 23rd ranked defensive tackle in 2011, but those days are probably gone. He’s unlikely to provide the Patriots with 8 million dollars in value this season, even if you take into account the intangible value of having him around. The Patriots usually do a good job of moving on from veterans at the right time, but I think they messed up this time.