Bye Bye Big Pat?


The agent for Vikings Pro Bowl DT Pat Williams says his client has broken off negotiations with the team and plans on testing the free agent market at the end of the season. Here’s the statement from the agent, Angelo Wright:

"We engaged in a dialogue and set a date before the season kicked in, and today was the day they strapped up, so by not reaching an accord on a new deal, we will move on after the season. Teams sign their core players, and don’t let them get into a situation where the player’s value is determined by the market. Since we couldn’t reach an agreement with the Vikings on where his value is, we’ll go into the market next offseason, and let the market dictate his value. We anticipate there will be a lot of interest in him."

I agree with Angelo – teams should sign their core players to long-term deals, hence avoiding a situation where, for example, a guy like Cory Redding gets an enormous contract, causing a Pat Williams, who plays the same position and whose contract is expiring, to feel he should get at least as much if not more. Here’s the question though – do the Vikings consider Pat Williams to be one of their core players? He certainly has been – without him, the team would not have had as dominant a run defense as it had last year. But Pat is getting a little long in the tooth, and he’s a big guy which means his knees are sure to start going soon. So, from the Vikings’ point-of-view, it may not make sense to break the bank for Pat Williams long-term. It certainly doesn’t make sense to give him Cory Redding money – which is what he obviously thinks he can get on the open market. Of course, there’s also the little matter of the franchise tag, which the Vikes have the option of slapping on Pat come season’s end. I personally wouldn’t bother with it though – I like Pat as a player, and appreciate what he’s done for the team, but at his age I’d be just as happy to part company when his contract is up, and let him go out and seek the absurd deal he thinks he can get. Let someone else give him more than he’s worth, and have to explain it to their fans when he breaks down three weeks into next season.