Muhammad Wilkerson has been trying to get a contract extension with the Jets for the past few years, failing to negotiate a deal with two different GMs, and no one realistically expects the two sides to reach an agreement before Friday's July 15 deadline. But according to NFL.com's Mike Garafolo someone close to Wilkerson said "they expect the Jets to make one last-ditch offer" to sign Wilkerson to a long-term deal.
But considering how far apart the two sides have been all along, and the fact that the market for elite defensive ends continues to go up, Wilkerson's camp is not expecting the offer to be enough to get the star defensive end to sign a deal.
The Jets and Wilkerson have until Friday to agree to a deal but if/when they fail to do so the two sides will not be able to negotiate until after the season and by that point it would seem even more unlikely that Wilkerson would be in a Jets uniform for the 2017 season. The Jets would like to keep Wilkerson but with the market for top defensive end continuing to grow and Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams on the roster the Jets aren't willing to meet Wilkerson's asking price.
This is one of rare situations where both parties are right and no one is actually wrong. Wilkerson deserves to be paid similarly to Olivier Vernon and Fletcher Cox, but the Jets can't justify giving him that money with their current cap situation and having Richardson and Williams. What you can expect to happen is the same thing we've been saying for months, Wilkerson will likely skip all of training camp and preseason - and since he's not under contract until he signs the franchise tag he can't be fined - and will sign the franchise tag just before the season starts. Wilkerson will then play out the season, where he will look to spend every snap proving he's worth all the money he wants, and he will eventually sign someone else next offseason with the Jets collecting a third-round compensatory pick in return.
This story will continue to be talked about and training camp press conferences will be high jacked by questions about Wilkerson's status but the reality of the situation and how we all know it is most likely to play out is highly unlikely to change.
Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)