Pat Williams will move on in 2008, according to agent
"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," agent Angelo Wright told the Pioneer Press.
Wright said he and the Vikings first talked about an extension in February but made no serious progress toward a deal. Williams said earlier in the offseason that he wanted a four-year extension.
"Teams sign their core players, and don’t let them get into a situation where the player’s value is determined by the market," Wright said. "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, especially with his ability to nose tackle in the one or two gap schemes, or as a pure base d-tackle."
Asked if he ever got close to a deal, Wright said, "We had a real different philosophy in value, and we view their offer as a veiled non-offer."
Wright declined to discuss specific details. But he indicated that the market was set by "several "
deals this offseason.
"The guaranteed money is the reality in the NFL landscape," Wright said.
The Vikings are clearly concerned about the age of Williams, who will be 35 in October.
"Whether they think he has two years left or five years left, you still pay value to value," Wright said of Williams, who went to the Pro Bowl in February. "This guy is an anomaly. If their concern is whether he will have a drop off, then that drop off would still exceed the production value of the majority of the defensive tackles in this league. He’s at his pinnacle now. The skill level has not eroded, and he’s maintained durability."
Wright said Williams will not be a distraction this season, fulfilling the final year of his original three-year, $13 million contract with the Vikings.
"We just want Pat to focus on his job," Wright said. "Contract negotiations during the season is like dangling a carrot in front of Bugs Bunny."
Asked if a deal during the season is possible, Wright said, "I would never say never. But our focus now is to play and move on."
Asked if the Vikings will be able to compete for his client's services next offseason, Wright said, "They could compete, but, in our opinion, they’ve established what they believe Pat’s value is. You don’t need to be Alan Greenspan or Milton Friedman to understand where the money has risen in the National Football League, in the last year, and where it’s headed next season. Some teams are reactionary, and some teams are stationary. And some teams are just nary."