The veteran nose tackle and career-long New Englander will play for the Houston Texans, the team announced on Monday. The Texans' staff has his former teammate Mike Vrabel on the coaching payroll alongside head coach Bill O'Brien, a former Patriots offensive coordinator, and Romeo Crennel, a former Pats defensive coordinator.
According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the deal is for two years and $9 million with $5 million guaranteed.
"This has been an interesting process for me and my family, one we have taken very seriously and given a lot of thought," Wilfork wrote in a message posted on his official Twitter page Monday. "We want to thank the Kraft family and the entire Patriot organization for the last 11 years however we will be starting a new chapter in our lives as Houston Texans."
He added: "The coaching staff in Houston has made this new exciting transition feel like home to us. We will forever be Patriots in our hearts, thank you everyone for everything."
Of all the puzzles free agency has presented us with this offseason, Wilfork joining the Texans seems like a logical, clean fit. The team is in desperate need of a 3-4 nose tackle but, more importantly, they could stand to expand the group of influential veterans around 2014 No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney.
Wilfork, 33, will be perfect in such a role.
"He is the best defensive linemen I ever coached, an all-time great Patriot whose place on our team will be missed but whose remarkable career as a Patriot will be remembered forever," Bill Belichick said in a statement released through the team.
Houston now boasts one of the more fearsome defensive lines in football. Wilfork's run-stopping ability alongside party-crashers like Clowney and J.J. Watt will go a long way toward supplementing the team's offense.