When will Vince Wilfork’s “request” become a demand?

And when will the Patriots hardball right back at Big Vince and say, in essence, “Or what?”

It’s been nearly a week since Wilfork let it be known he wanted a divorce. The Patriots outwardly have stifled a yawn and gone about signing more football players for the upcoming football season.

At some point, this boil will need a lancing.

The Patriots’ level of urgency is dictated by bookkeeping, their ultimate decision dictated by three things.

First, whether the Patriots can swallow their restructure/pay cut demand and pay Wilfork $7.5 million in salary for his services in 2014 and $14 million for the 2013 and 2014 seasons combined. Not likely.

Second, whether they think Wilfork is indispensable to the success of their 2014 defense and all will be lost without him. Also, not likely.

Third, how long they want to squat on Wilfork and carry his $11.6 million cap hit while determining whether his Achilles has healed and where exactly Wilfork intends to go once released (they’d no doubt prefer to make it difficult for him to pop up on an AFC rival).

That’s where the bookkeeping comes in. The cap hit is onerous. The Patriots will have to carry that until they make a decision on which way they will go with him.

If they release Wilfork, they save $8 million against the cap. That’s money they can use on extensions, other free agents, etc.