New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson is one of the league’s elite 3-4 DEs, and he is the leader of one of the best three-man fronts in the NFL with rookie Sheldon Richardson opposite of him and the big Damon Harrison in the middle. Wilkerson had a big 2012 season with 70 tackles and five sacks, but he was even better in 2013 with 64 tackles and an outstanding 10.5 sacks and continues to show why he is one of the league’s best defensive players.
There have been some rumblings that Wilkerson might hold out, but he completely dispelled those rumors yesterday in an interview with Metro New York’s Kristian Dyer. Wilkerson said, “It will be taken care of, definitely. But all that holdout and all that other talk that people were saying and everything – I never said anything like that. I’m not going to hold out. It’s not something I want; it’s not something I’m thinking about. I’m going to show up like everybody else and do what I’m told.”
Wilkerson, of course, wants a long-term deal, because he doesn’t have long-term security at this point. He is set to make “just” $1.2 million (that’s not chump change, but the DE has shown he is much more valuable than that) next season, and the Jets also have a team option on the 24-year-old Temple product for the 2015 season.
It will be interesting to see if John Idzik hands an extension down to arguably the team’s best player, or if Wilkerson will have to play through the 2014 season on his rookie deal. The Jets team option for 2015 gives the front office added flexibility, but we’ll see if they want to get a deal done sooner rather than later. Wilkerson sure does, but it’s great to hear that like Randy Starks and Rodger Saffold, he knows holding out gives him no leverage.