"I would like a deal, but when it happens, it happens," Wilkerson said. "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."
The Jets recently picked up the fifth-year option on Wilkerson (TJB, April 17).
Wilkerson said in April that he would like to be a "Jet for life" (TJB, April 11).
Bent wrote in detail about the subject back in January (TJB, January 27).
The Jets don't want to go down any well-worn roads a la Darrelle Revis and while I don't think the Jets and Wilkerson will the media seem bent to make this a storyline the longer that no long-term deal goes on, even if the media's timeline for such a deal is unreasonable.
Wilkerson is diffusing the situation as best he can, but he is going to be increasingly asked about this ... until it is made into a story. Wilkerson knows that NFL teams have the leverage of the fifth year option under the new CBA and he is saying the right things. As Wilkerson notes, of course he wants to get a new deal sooner than later but he is making no threats to the team ... he's not saying he plans to hold out ... or that he wants a trade ... he says he will come to work and is trying to go about his business ... but the story won't be left alone.
The Jets know that letting Wilkerson get as far as free agency is foolish, but that is almost two years away. The best players almost never make it to NFL free agency and there is no reason that Wilkerson should. Wilkerson is the best player on the team. But the Jets legitimately have 18 months before this becomes an honest-to-goodness issue, even if the media want to make it one today.