FLORHAM PARK, N.J. –- Muhammad Wilkerson remains a little frustrated with his contract situation, but the defensive end said he never considered holding out of camp.
“It is a little frustrating, but at the end of the day I am happy to be out here with my teammates and get the season going,” Wilkerson said about his contract after the Jets’ first training camp practice.
Saying that this will be the first and last time he discusses his contract with the media during this camp, Wilkerson remains hopeful that his agent and the team can come to terms on a new deal before the start of the season.
If not, Wilkerson went along with the notion that he will play out the season in which he is due to make $6.97 million. He will be a free agent after the season but the team can use the franchise tag, projected at about $16 million, in 2016. The defensive lineman has a combined 16 sacks in the last two seasons.
“I’m going to focus on the season,” Wilkerson replied when asked if he will table contract talks if no new deal is agreed upon by Week 1. “It is my job to be competitive with my teammates and get ready for games on Sundays. I don’t want to worry about contract situations. That is a distraction for myself as well as my teammates.”
Wilkerson, 25, said he wants to be one of the team’s leaders. The Jets will need that leadership and his production even more with Sheldon Richardson serving a four-game suspension to start the season.
Wilkerson would not go into detail about what he’s seeking with the terms of his contract.
“I hope something is done,” he said. “I have an agent and that is about it. You have to ask upstairs how they feel about [the potential of a deal before the season starts].”