FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Muhammad Wilkerson was spotted in the Jets locker room briefly on Wednesday but did not respond to reporters who approached him. Instead, he just left.
Wilkerson, who is still rehabbing the broken right leg he sustained in the team’s Week 17 loss in Buffalo, still has yet to sign his franchise tender ($15.7 million). Without a signed tender, he’s technically not under contract — meaning he’s not officially obligated to attend next week’s mandatory minicamp.
Coach Todd Bowles said he heard the Pro Bowl defensive end was in the building Wednesday, but the two didn’t speak because Bowles was in meetings.
Wilkerson’s camp has been seeking a long-term deal since 2014 to no avail. The former 2011 first-round pick skipped last year’s OTAs and showed up for mandatory minicamp.
The Jets have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with Wilkerson, but at this point it’s unlikely both sides will be able to reach an agreement.
With Wilkerson unlikely to attend mandatory minicamp, the next time he’d be expected to show up is training camp. But Bowles said last week that he’s not sure if that will be the case. “I would like him to be here, I hope he’s here, but we’ll see,” the coach said.
At the time, Bowles reiterated the team’s desire to lock up Wilkerson long-term, but he made no promises.
“We want to come to an agreement,” he told reporters last week. “We want to sign all our good players. But that doesn’t always work out. I’m not saying we are or aren’t. Obviously you want to keep your good players around. But with the rules these days they make it very hard after four or five years to keep your own.”