So far this off-season Muhammad Wilkerson has not been seen around the Jets facility, he has been working out by himself, following his own program back home. All workouts up to this point have been voluntary and the absence of a veteran is hardly surprising.
However all that changes next week when NFL mini-camp begins, the first mandatory session of the off-season program, all players are required to attend and missing the sessions will result in some hefty fines.
All eyes will be on Florham Park next week as we find out just how upset Wilkerson is with his current contract situation.
Under his current contract, Wilkerson is due to make $6.9 million this season, not what he is worth, but by no means a small bit of change. The problem is, Wilkerson wants some long-term security, and with numerous first round picks from the 2011 draft signing extensions, he is looking for his guaranteed money.
The rumors are that Wilkerson is looking for around $40 million guaranteed and around $13-$14 million annually. We have to consider that Cameron Jordan has just signed a contract extension with the Saints, a deal worth $60 million over 5 years with $33.8 million guaranteed. Jordan is a defensive lineman who was also drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft.
Jordan is a 25 year old with 29 sacks over 4 years. Wilkerson is a 25 year old with 24.5 sacks over four years, although Wilkerson dominated more in a lot of other areas, so the Jordan deal is a good benchmark for the kind of deal Wilkerson will expect.
Personally I don't want to see a long-drawn out contract dispute between one of our most promising players and the franchise, but if Wilkerson doesn't turn up next week, that's what we can probably expect.
Todd Bowles was asked if he expects Muhammad to be present next week, all he could say was he hopes he is, we all do.
I would be hopeful. It's mandatory, but that's up to Muhammad and I don't know what the answer to that question will be until next week..