FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Muhammad Wilkerson is at this week's mandatory minicamp, avoiding a big fan but also giving hope that the New York Jets defensive end will be here not just for the next three days but long-term.
Wilkerson, who had not been at the facility throughout any of the team's previous offseason workouts, including voluntary veteran's minicamp and recent Organized Team Activities (OTAs) was finally in-house on Tuesday. A source tells Metro New York that Wilkerson was at the team's facility on Monday as well, one day before the start of minicamp this week.
Certainly there was hope on Wilkerson's part that a long-term deal would already be in place to keep him on the Jets roster. To date, it hasn't appeared that way and there were even rumors around the NFL Draft that he might be traded.
“Frustrated, yeah. I thought that a deal would be made,” Wilkerson said on Tuesday. “But at the end of the day, this is a business. These things take time.”
Where this leaves the Jets and their star defensive end is anyone's guess. Recently, the New Orleans Saints gave Cam Jordan a five-year, $60 million contract extension, a number that should be in the ballpark for what Wilkerson is looking to get. Given that their production has similar over the past four years, it certainly makes sense that Wilkerson would be looking to get a similarly sized piece of the pie.
“I'm happy for those guys that they got their new deal,” Wilkerson said. “It's good to see that their teams are taking care of them.”
In four seasons in the league, Jordan has career totals of 196 tackles and 29 sacks. Wilkerson, in the league for the same span, has 237 tackles and 24.5 sacks.
The San Diego Chargers are in talks with a similar sized deal for their defensive end Corey Liuget, setting the standard by which Wilkerson's possible deal will be assessed by his agent.
It is easy to see why Wilkerson, in the final year of his rookie contract, would want a similar deal.
Wilkerson said the decision to attend minicamp was made over the weekend with his agent. He will be in the facility all three days but he noted that he may not participate fully due to a toe injury suffered last year.