After a dominant performance in 2013 in which he was arguably the team’s best overall player, Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson definitively stated that he will not hold out for a pay raise entering the final year of his four-year rookie contract. “It will be taken care of, definitely,” Wilkerson told Kristian Dyer of Metro New York. “But all that holdout and all that other talk that people were saying and everything – I never said anything like that. I’m not going to hold out. It’s not something I want; it’s not something I’m thinking about. I’m going to show up like everybody else and do what I’m told.” Rumors had been swirling that Wilkerson wanted a pay raise and would be “a possible holdout candidate,” reported Dyer, but the first-time All-Pro argued otherwise.
In a Raiders Twitter mailbag, ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez answered a number of fan questions relating to the team’s upcoming strategies for the draft and free agency:
- Gutierrez said the Raiders should target a pass rusher, not a quarterback, with the No. 5 overall selection of the 2014 NFL Draft. In a division with Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Alex Smith, and the possibility of South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney falling into their laps, the Raiders would be wise to target an instant playmaker on defense.
- Jared Veldheer says he wants a long-term deal and that receiving the team’s franchise would be like a slap in the face. Gutierrez’s feeling is that Veldheer will be a Raider next year and that both sides will agree on a deal that keeps him in Oakland for the foreseeable future.
- In order, Gutierrez lists Veldheer, Lamarr Houston, Rashad Jennings, Tracy Porter and Charles Woodson as the essential free agents to re-sign.
- Referring back to his chats with GM Reggie McKenzie, Gutierrez opines that the team will rely “more heavily on free agency to get front-line starters” as opposed to hoping a rookie draft pick will fill the void. As the team with the most cap room entering the 2014 offseason, the Raiders are in prime position to add experienced talent to their roster.