Koppen's return with Broncos is nature of the business to Wilfork

724080.jpg

Koppen's return with Broncos is nature of the business to Wilfork

FOXBORO -- Vince Wilfork has been around long enough to know that, at the end of the day, football is a business.

So when he lines up across from former teammate and center Dan Koppen on Sunday, it'll be strange. That's human nature. But what's also human nature, is players coming and going.

And in Koppen's case, he signed with the Denver Broncos in early September, after being released from the Patriots.

But the last thing that Wilfork wants to do is make Sunday's game against the Broncos at Gillette Stadium about that.

"Being with him for nine years, I know Koppen a little bit," said Wilfork with a smile on Thursday. "He knows me also a little bit. So, it is what it is when it comes down to that.

"I don't think either one of us is any different. We want to try to win a ball game. It's Denver versus the Patriots, not, the Patriots versus Koppen or Koppen versus the Patriots."

As Wilfork kept pointing out, it's the nature of the business.

"We've seen guys come and go, and play against guys that had been here, that had been teammates before," said Wilfork. "And it's never been a problem. We don't want it to be a problem this week.

"It's the nature of the business. People come and go."

Wilfork found that out early in his NFL career, as he saw Willie McGinest get cut and then sign with the Cleveland Browns.

"Being here nine years, I've seen a lot of people come and go," said Wilfork. "I think the first one probably was Willie McGinest, when he left. It's strange, because you come in as a rookie, McGinest was one of the guys I looked up to, being a defensive player and him being a leader here. I actually watched him in high school.

"That was the first one, but that wasn't the last one. And it's not going to be the last one. So, you've got to take it in stride. You have relationships with guys, off the field relationships, and it is what it is. I'm here to do a job. That's to do my job at the best ability that I can. And it won't stop this Sunday."

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi discusses the odds that the New England Patriots franchise tag Dont'a Hightower and what he expects the Pats to get if they were to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

cardinals_chandler_jones_022717.jpg

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.