While Wilkerson is in just the second year of his five-year, $86 million, Mehta says that 2017 is really a one-year audition and the Jets will likely move on from him if he puts together another down year.
Mehta writes that some within the Jets were “privately fuming” that Wilkerson intimated that his production from last year was related in part to poor planning from the team’s training/medical staff.
Beyond that, Mehta says there are questions about his unprofessional behavior and overall effort.
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 2016, Wilkerson appeared in 15 games for the Jets and recorded 28 tackles, 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble and three pass defenses.