The New York Jets and defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson reached a surprise agreement on a long-term extension. Wilkerson signed a five-year deal worth $86 million with $36.75 million guaranteed and a $15 million signing bonus. The contract averages $17.2 million per season, and has an injury guarantee of $53.5 million.
The Jets and Wilkerson have been negotiating a long-term extension for multiple seasons and could never find common ground on value and years of the deal. Many expected the teams to not reach a deal and Wilkerson to potentially hold out into training camp.
The changes in negotiations occurred at 3:15 a.m. Friday, which was about 13 hours before the deadline for franchise tags to be signed. The Jets revised its initial offers and the Wilkerson camp became intrigued and negotiations heated up with a deal being officially signed a few minutes before the 4 p.m. deadline.
Wilkerson now gets his deserved money, but the Jets are the real winners of this contract. In comparison to other top defensive players, the Jets got a bargain in terms of guaranteed money for Wilkerson. The Jets get a better player and better deal than the deal the Philadelphia Eagles gave defensive lineman Fletcher Cox.
Charley Casserly, NFL Network analyst and a part of the committee that helped choose Mike Maccagnan as the Jets general manager, stated how this contract will allow the to maintain the flexibility to sign Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams to long-term deals as well. “By #Jets signing @mowilkerson for 5y can still sign Richardson long term. L Williams can be too when Wilkerson’s deal is done @nflnetwork,” tweeted Casserly.
Both sides were able to come out happy with this deal as Wilkerson got his earned long-term extension and the Jets are able to keep their player at a great value. Wilkerson and the Jets can now head into training camp with negotiations finally resolved and no threat of a holdout from its star defensive lineman.