Some things don’t change. One of those things is the contract situation between the New York Jets and Muhammad Wilkerson, franchised by the team, but the two sides are unable to find a way to get a long term deal agreed upon.
Wilkerson, 26, has been with the Jets since 2011. He has 36.5 sacks in that time, including a career-best 12 last season, making the Pro Bowl for the first time. A first round draft pick in 2011, he’s been mentioned on the All-NFL 2nd team four times, twice by AP, twice by PFF. He spoke to Brian Costello of The New York Post about his frustration with the negotiations.
It’s shocking. It’s frustrating. Because I feel like I’ve earned it and I deserve it. It would be different if I was just a mediocre player. I feel like each and every week I’m dominating and it’s showing. The stats speak for themselves. Basically, what more do I need to do? You know what I mean? Do I feel that they want me back? As of right now, no. I don’t feel like they want me. I’m a talented guy. Everybody knows that. I feel like they’re going to get the best they can out of me and just let me go. That’s how I feel. Do I like that feeling? No. I’m a New Jersey guy, born and raised and would love to raise my family here.
What does Wilkerson want? When players are in the middle of contract negotiations and take the “battle” public, they speak about respect, not money. But that’s the bottom line, and Wilkerson wants the deal Fletcher Cox got in June: A six-year, $103 million contract, or something around that. Or what the New York Giants gave Oliver Vernon. In short, he wants to be come the highest paid 3-4 defensive end in the NFL, surpassing J.J. Watt, and receive around $17 million a season.
The Jets still haven’t sorted out their Ryan Fitzpatrick situation, and regardless, they’re in a pretty good situation when it comes to their defensive line, with guys like Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams and a recent signing, Steve McLendon. They haven’t shown any interest in meeting Wilkerson’s demands, but haven’t found any willing shoppers for Wilkerson, putting him on the trading block and coming up with about zero offers.
What now? Wilkerson doesn’t plan on signing the $15.7 million franchise tender. Holdout? He can holdout, and it won’t cost him any money as long as he doesn’t sign the tender. Wilkerson wants the long term deal, or bust. With one week to go before the Jets and Wilkerson can no longer sign an extension, we’re pretty much in the same place we were when this offseason began.