10:57am: Wilkerson isn’t expected to participate in any portion of Phase One of the Jets’ voluntary offseason program, sources tell Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). The first phase of the program will run for the next two weeks. His participation in Phase 2 and the voluntary veteran minicamp at the end of the month is still TBD.
8:06am: For months now, Muhammad Wilkerson said that he was staying patient through contract talks with the Jets. That could all be changing, however, as Wilkerson did not report to camp for the start of the team’s offseason work, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. La Canfora adds that the defensive tackle might not be around for a while.
As Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News notes, players aren’t required to show up for “Phase One” of the Jets’ program, so Wilkerson won’t suffer any repercussions. However, the decision not to join Gang Green for their strength/conditioning and classroom work demonstrates his unhappiness over his contractual situation.
Wilkerson is scheduled to earn $6.97MM in 2015 after having his fifth-year team option last year. However, he is looking for a long-term deal at a time where the market is quite favorable for standout defensive linemen. Both J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn have put pen to paper on monster contracts, though Wilkerson’s deal will obviously look more like the latter rather than the former.
After watching the Jets sign free agents Darrelle Revis ($39MM guaranteed) and Antonio Cromartie while re-signing linebacker David Harris ($15MM guaranteed) and trading for wide receiver Brandon Marshall (while adding to his deal), Wilkerson probably grew a bit impatient on his own deal. According to Mehta, GM Mike Maccagnan has hinted that the team would address Wilkerson’s situation after the draft. Right now, it sounds like the 25-year-old doesn’t want to wait that long.
The Jets are one of seven teams with a new head coach, which is why they can begin practicing today. Other teams are allowed to begin on April 20th.