Muhammad Wilkerson has become one of the NFL's better defensive linemen.
In 2013, Wilkerson recorded 63 total tackles with 10.5 sacks and one interception. His play has elevated himself into a category of premier 3-4 defensive ends, which begs the next question: When will he get paid like one?
Wilkerson is set to earn a base salary of $2.2 million this season, though he's slated to earn $6.969 million in 2015 due to the fact the Jets picked up his fifth-year option.
But Wilkerson's teammate, Sheldon Richardson, believes it's time to award the fourth-year defensive end a new contract.
"Hopefully, they do the right thing and pay the man," Richardson told The New York Post. "That's coming from me. That's somebody I want around. But it's just business. You have no control over it."
Richarson is right about both things — the Jets should pay Wilkerson and that the NFL is a business about paying the appropriate value to a player. And the latter can take time.
But in the end, the Jets would be foolish not to lock up Wilkerson in the near future. The last thing they want to do is anger a player and risk him leaving via free agency in 2016.
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