The New York Jets have been negotiating with defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson for multiple seasons and still have not been able to agree to a long term extension. The Jets have 40 days until July 15th to come to an agreement on a contract extension or Wilkerson must play on his $15.7 million franchise tender.
Wilkerson is a difficult negotiation as the Jets must consider his value along with the potential values of fellow defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams. All three players will be in line for raises in salary when the time comes and it will not be feasible for the Jets to sign all three to pricey contract extensions.
Head coach Todd Bowles is hoping the team can resign Wilkerson, but is realistic that it may not happen. “We want to come to an agreement we want to sign all our good players but that doesn’t always work out,” Bowles said. “I’m not saying we are or aren’t. Obviously, you want to keep your good players around, but with the rules these days, they make it very hard after four or five years to keep your own. So we’ve got to try to finagle and find ways to do that and have enough money to try to do so.”
The New York Giants have set the bar for premier defensive lineman by guaranteeing $52.5 million for Olivier Vernon. Wilkerson is going to want to top that amount, which may make if difficult for the Jets to retain their player at a value that fits into their plans.
The Jets have to handle Ryan Fitzpatrick and its quarterback position for now, but the Wilkerson dilemma will continue as well. The Jets are hopeful they can retain Wilkerson, but Jets fans should enjoy his play for the time he has left in New York as he may be wearing a new jersey in the near future.