At 4 pm today the deadline for player's designated with the franchise tag to sign long-term deals passed and as expected there was no deal announced for Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. But 30 minutes later the unexpected happened and the Jets announced that they did in fact reach a deal with their star defensive end right before the deadline.
After years of negotiating, with two different GMs, no one actually expected a deal to be reached, but apparently Mike Maccagnan managed to lay enough groundwork over the past few weeks for the two sides to be able to bridge the gap at the last minute.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network Wilkerson agreed to a five-year deal that will pay the New Jersey native around $17 million per year.
So it appears there will be no training camp holdout, beat reporters won't be able to hijack training camp press conferences asking when will Wilkerson decide to show up and as soon as Wilkerson is cleared by the doctors he will return to the practice field and re-join his teammates.
Wilkerson has been clamoring for long-term stability for years now and he finally got it, $54 million guaranteed will bring stability to just about anyone, the Jets get to retain the services of a Pro Bowl defensive end to stay with Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams and one of the most popular players in the locker room gets to stay home. This is one of those win-win-win situations that are an absolute rarity in life, so Jets fans soak it up and enjoy it while you can.
This contract takes away the negative attention/storyline about how the Jets won't pay their star-player and helps ensure that the three-headed monster on the defensive line will stay intact for more than just this year. For now the Jets hope to reap the benefits of a happy Wilkerson to continue to lead this defense to the next level and of course they're going to need it because we still have that one other question left unanswered, who will be the Jets quarterback?
Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (email@example.com)