Packers to Ink Former Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson

The Packers busy day continued late into Tuesday evening, as Rob Demovsky reports the team is going to add a big piece on defense, coming to terms with former Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson.

The Jets released Wilkerson on March 5, ending a seven-year run that turned bitter last season.

The Jets had to cut Wilkerson before March 16 or else his $16.75 million salary for 2018 would have become fully guaranteed.

Wilkerson, 28 (Oct. 22), was benched for the final three games of last season, ostensibly because he was late for a meeting on Dec. 15 — the fourth time since 2015 he was disciplined for tardiness.

The Jets decided to keep him off the field for the remainder of the season because they were concerned about a potential injury, which could have resulted in the team being on the hook for his 2018 salary. By then, the organization had decided Wilkerson’s fate.

Wilkerson was due to count $20 million on the cap, the league’s fourth-highest cap charge for a non-quarterback. By cutting him, the Jets saved $11 million.

It was a significant fall for Wilkerson, a 2011 first-round pick who once appeared to be on the verge of stardom.

Wilkerson peaked in 2015, when he recorded a career-high 12 sacks and was named to his first Pro Bowl. In 2016, he was rewarded with a five-year, $86 million contract that included $37 million fully guaranteed at signing. He was the highest-paid player on the team in 2017, making $15 million in cash earnings.


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