“He’s gone,” a team source tells Mehta.
Wilkerson was benched for the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Chiefs for reportedly being late to team meetings. Wilkerson declined to discuss the reason for benching with reporters on Wednesday.
According to Mehta, there’s a “strong sentiment” in the Jets’ organization that Wilkerson should not be part of the team moving forward. Mehta says that some within the Jets are “ticked off” with Wilkerson’s repeated violation of team rules while others are simply tired of seeing a lack of productivity from him on game day.
If the Jets are to move on from him in 2018, Mehta points out that will likely happen before the third day of the new league year in March when his $16.75 million base salary becomes guaranteed.
Another option for the Jets could be to try and trade Wilkerson after restructuring his contract, writes Mehta.
Wilkerson, 27, is a former first-round pick of the Jets back in 2011. He played out his rookie contract with the team and was in line to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason before the Jets used their franchise tag on him last year.
The Jets surprisingly locked him up to a five-year, $86 million contract that included $53.5 million guaranteed just before the deadline. Wilkerson stands to make base salaries of $14.75 million and $16.75 million over the next two years of the agreement.
According to OverTheCap.com, releasing Wilkerson next year would free up $11 million of available cap space while creating $9 million in dead money. However, the Jets could improve those figures to $17 million of cap room and just $3 million of dead money by designating him as a post-June 1 release.
In 2017, Wilkerson has appeared in 12 games for the Jets and recorded 40 tackles, 2.5 sacks, an interception, and four pass defenses. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 52 interior defender out of 117 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding Wilkerson’s future with the Jets as the news is available.