Bill Kostroun/Associated Press
Muhammad Wilkerson has not made a fuss about his lack of a new contract, but fellow defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson is unafraid to let the public know his thoughts on the absence of a long-term deal.
Richardson told Brian Costello of the New York Post that he believes the Jets should "do the right thing" by extending Wilkerson. "That's somebody I want around," he added. "But it's just business. You have no control over it.
"He's due for a paycheck, though. Believe that, he's due for a paycheck."
Richardson is right on all accounts. The team's sack leader (10.5) in 2013, Wilkerson has established himself as one of the top young defensive linemen in the NFL while emerging as a leader for the new generation of Jets. Wilkerson will be making a comfortable wage under his $6.9 million option in 2015, but he deserves long-term security.
With players such Nick Mangold and David Harris entering their 30s in the near future, the Jets need players such as Wilkerson to establish a foundation to build around.
Theoretically, the Jets could franchise Wilkerson next season and delay giving him a long-term extension until the 2017 offseason. However, given Wilkerson's value as a leader and a player on the Jets, it seems inevitable that the two sides will come to some kind of an agreement over the next year.