The Jets have opened the lines of communication with Mo Wilkerson, but the anchor of Rex Ryan’s defense may still have to wait for his big payday. The Jets have had recent discussions with the All-Pro defensive lineman’s camp about his future, but no new long-term deal is on the horizon, according to a team source. The Jets plan on exercising a fifth-year option on Wilkerson’s contract before the May 3 deadline in the new collective bargaining agreement, the source said. Although the organization has yet to convey concrete plans to Wilkerson, the team source said that it has been made abundantly clear that the Jets will prioritize free agency and the draft over the next two months. Wilkerson, who hasn’t missed a game in his three-year career, and the rest of the first-round picks in the 2011 draft class signed four-year deals with a fifth-year team option as part of the new CBA. The source left open the possibility of revisiting contract extension talks with Wilkerson in the summer but admitted that it’s unlikely a new long-term pact will be struck this offseason unless the player accepts a team-friendly deal. Wilkerson unwittingly hurt his negotiating leverage with public remarks last month that he won’t hold out if he doesn’t get a long-term deal, the team source said. Wilkerson would have incurred hefty daily fines if he held out, but that’s a player’s only true means of leverage under the current CBA structure. It makes little financial sense for the Jets to give the 24-year-old Wilkerson, who had a career-high 10½ sacks last season, a long-term deal this summer unless it’s below market value.
NY Jets plan to exercise option on Mo Wilkerson
New York Daily News | Mar 7