Contrary to 610's report earlier today, Vince Wilfork is your newest Houston Texan, ladies and gentlemen. After ESPN’s Tania Ganguli reported earlier that Romeo Crennel was in the mood for a reunion with his one-time pupil in New England, it seems as though Wilfork felt the same way and decided to pack his bags for Houston.
Wilfork broke the news of his signing on Twitter.
Thank you everyone for everything your support has been tremendous pic.twitter.com/Kej0MsI6yB— Vince Wilfork (@wilfork75) March 16, 2015
No word on the amount of money yet, but Ian Rapoport has details on the length of Wilfork's contract with the Texans:
It’s a 2-year deal for the #Texans and new DT Vince Wilfork.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2015
Wilfork is obviously not the same player he was in his prime – nor does anyone expect him to be – but the Texans desperately need some help at nose tackle until the organization can figure out what Louis Nix can bring to the equation. Wilfork knows the system, knows (some) of the coaches, and he might even be able to bring some veteran leadership to a locker room that just lost Andre Johnson and Chris Myers. I asked Greg Knopping of our sister site, Pats Pulpit, for his input on what Wilfork means for Houston.
How effective was Wilfork last season?
Wilfork was a good football player and an important leader for the Patriots defense. He was effective as a two-gap run stopper, which is what he was known for early in his career in New England. He was not as dynamic in sub-packages as a pass rusher as he was from 2010-2012, but created disruption on occasion. He bounced back as well as you could ask from a 350+ pound man coming off of a torn achilles. He ended up playing over 75% of the team's snaps, although his play seemed to fade a bit down the stretch into the postseason.
Why was he let go by the Patriots?
Salary cap reasons. By declining his option, the Patriots saved $8 million off the salary cap for 2015. The Patriots have a nose tackle in waiting in Sealver Siliga, and the thought was that Wilfork would command a higher price tag than the Patriots would be willing to pay.
How much does he have left in the tank?
Probably a decent amount. Big Vince has played 16 games in all but three years of his career. As I mentioned earlier, he came off of a torn achilles to return to being a 3-down player for a Super Bowl winning team. He took a noticeable step back from his prime in 2014, but he is still a good player. We've seen guys with his type of stature, such as Ted Washington and Keith Traylor, play into their mid-to-late 30s. Make Vince a two-down player, put him in a 2-gap defense, and you could see him play another 2-3 years of good football.
If Ryan Pickett can be an impact player in the middle of this defense, surely Vince Wilfork can match that…or at least I hope he can.
UPDATE: Here are the terms of Wilfork's contract with the Texans.