Mike Westhoff would not let Muhammad Wilkerson get away from the Jets if it was up to him.
The former special teams coach and current SNY analyst said he would place the franchise tag on Wilkerson to keep him on the roster, if that's what it came down to.
"I really like Mo," Westhoff said. "I like him as a leader."
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan said this week that the team is open to any type of deal with Wilkerson and will have a meeting with the player and his agent soon.
"He's a guy that scares you," Westhoff said. "Mo is a difference maker."
Wilkerson, 26, earned $6.96 million in the final year of his rookie deal last season and would earn $15.5 million next season under the franchise tag. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier this month that Wilkerson was the likely candidate to receive the franchise tag from the Jets.
Wilkerson recorded 12 sacks, two forced fumbles and 64 combined tackles last season for the Jets. New York's first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Wilkerson has missed just three games through his first five seasons in the league.
Teams have until 4 p.m. on March 1 to designate players with the franchise tag, or else they can become a free agent. Players who receive the franchise tag will receive a one-year deal worth the average of the five highest-paid players at the position. Teams can still negotiate a long-term deal with players under the franchise tag.