The New York Jets' standout defensive end, responding to speculation of a possible training-camp holdout, put the kabosh on that notion Saturday while making a public appearance at a fitness center in Parsippany, N.J.
"It will be taken care of, definitely," Wilkerson told Metro New York, alluding to his contract situation. "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."
Wilkerson's right; he never dropped any hints about holding out. But when a premier player outperforms his rookie contract, and he becomes eligible for a renegotiation ... well, it fuels speculation.
Technically, Wilkerson has one year left on his contract, but the Jets are expected to exercise the fifth-year option for 2015. Until recently, it was widely assumed that Wilkerson would land a new deal after his third season, based on the belief that the mandatory salary for the fifth-year option would be so high that the Jets would want to renegotiate and extend the contract. For a defensive end, however, the salary is expected to be roughly $6 million -- a bargain for the Jets.
Wilkerson, like all first-round picks in 2011, is part of the first draft class affected by the new CBA. Once they exercise the option (by May 3), the Jets still have the ability to re-work the deal. Obviously, they would hold the leverage and would look for a team-friendly deal.
Wilkerson is due to make $1.2 million in 2014.