The New York Jets recently exercised the fifth-year option for Muhammad Wilkerson's contract (2015) -- a no-brainer. The real question is whether the Jets will sign their best defensive player to a long-term extension before the start of the regular season. Wilkerson said Tuesday night he'd like a new contract, but he wouldn't attach a timetable to his wish. "I would like a deal, but when it happens, it happens," he said at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, where he and New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz were honored by the United Way at its annual Gridiron Gala. "I'm not saying I want it to be before the regular season. When it happens, it happens. I'm going to come in and work hard and take every day like I always do." Wilkerson is due to make only $1.2 million for the coming season. The fifth-year option would pay him $6.97 million in 2015. That sounds like a lot, but it's not close to what he could make on the open market. The two sides have held preliminary talks, but the Jets hold the leverage and feel no sense of urgency. Wilkerson said he hasn't talked to his agent recently about his contract. "I'm glad to be a Jet," he said. "I'm glad they picked up the option. I'm ready to go to work." Wilkerson, peppered with contract-related questions for a few months, hasn't made any threatening comments. He has said on multiple occasions that he has no intention of holding out.