Wilkerson was at the Jets’ facility on Monday and Tuesday, and told reporters on Tuesday that his agent was told contract talks will start to pick up.
Wilkerson, 25, skipped the Jets’ voluntary off-season program, choosing to workout with a personal trainer instead. The four-veteran is scheduled to make $6.97 million this season, the last of his rookie deal, and was reportedly seeking a long-term deal.
If Wilkerson skipped the three-day minicamp this week, he could have been fined more than $72,000.
First-year general manager Mike Maccagnan has said he would like to work out a deal for Wilkerson, but it would have to make sense for both sides.
The Jets drafted USC defensive end Leonard Williams with the No. 6 pick in April’s draft, but Maccagnan said last month the selection did not necessarily mean the Jets were looking to move on from Wilkerson.
“It doesn’t really impact Mo directly in that sense,” Maccagnan told ESPN Radio. “Mo is a good player, he’s part of this organization, he’s currently under contract, we’d like to keep him in this organization. And we just have to go through a process with him to figure out if we can find a middle ground.”
In 13 games last season, Wilkerson recorded 56 tackles, six sacks and one forced fumble. The Jets’ defense ranked sixth in total defense last season, although head coach Rex Ryan was fired after the team went 4–12. Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman joined Ryan’s staff with the Buffalo Bills in January.
The Jets’ personnel on defense will also look different, as the team brought back cornerback Darrelle Revis on a five-year, $70 million deal with $39 million guaranteed; signed former Cleveland Browns cornerback Bruster Skrine to a four-year, $25 million contract and brought back cornerback Antonio Cromartie for a second stint with the team on a four-year, $32 million contract.
- Mike Fiammetta