Cole reports that New York isn’t willing to pay much more than the total guarantees Wilkerson would receive from his fifth-year option and a potential franchise tag in 2016 at this time.
Cole mentions that this would be in the area of close to $18 million. However, Wilkerson reportedly isn’t interested in this type of contract and after speaking to sources, Cole doesn’t expect an a deal to be in place at any point in the near future, unless the Jets capitulate and offer more in terms of guarantees.
Wilkerson, 25, is already among the best defensive linemen in the NFL, but the new CBA has given teams the ability to retain players at a reasonable cost for five years if they pick up his option.
As Cole mentioned, NFL teams can obviously extend that to six years by applying the franchise tag, so it’s not as though Wilkerson has all that much leverage, despite the fact that he’s played so well for the Jets.
This season, he has appeared in seven games and recorded 34 tackles, four sacks, and passes defended. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 2 defensive end in a 3-4 system this year behind only J.J. Watt of the Texans.