Muhammad Wilkerson: I’m underpaid, but that’s part of the business


Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson is one of the top players at his position in the NFL, but he isn’t paid like it.

Wilkerson is set to make $1.2 million this year and the team has already exercised their option for 2015, which is worth just under $7 million. They could then conceivably use the franchise tag on Wilkerson for the 2016 season and spend a little more than $21 million for the next three years of Wilkerson’s service, something that would be a tremendous bargain if Wilkerson remains as productive as he’s been through his first three seasons.

Wilkerson is aware of that, but says he’s “a patient man” who wants to stay with the Jets and who believes that a contract more in line with his play will come.

“Do I feel that I’m underpaid right now? Yeah,” Wilkerson said, via the New York Daily News. “But that’s part of the business. My time will come when I get a new contract. But right now I’m just worried about becoming a better player, a better teammate and a better leader.”

Wilkerson is part of the first group of first-round picks to have the fifth-year options included in their rookie deals and it will be interesting to see how teams handle extensions for those players over the next year. With the players essentially tied to the teams for two more seasons, there’s not much urgency to get an extension done although teams like the Jets have to balance that with the potential benefits of sending the message that players that perform well for the team will see their work rewarded.

28 responses to “Muhammad Wilkerson: I’m underpaid, but that’s part of the business

  1. This guy is really refreshing he gets it ,I really hope Idzik gets his deal done soon while we have plenty of cap space.
    In other news Mevis is preparing his holdout in New England next year

  2. Players saying they are underpaid is definitely part of the business, I agree. Feeling underpaid because your grossly over-exorbitant salary is less than other much more grossly exorbitant salaries is also seemingly part of the business too…

    Actually being underpaid though? Not so sure the league minimum (which is less than Wilkerson makes) doesn’t put you above 90% of the world and make you ALL over paid… And I can think of plenty jobs much more dangerous where people make nothing compared to you… Oil rigging comes to mind… so pick something else to say other thn you put your bodies on the line.

    Would love to see a movement of players (and league officials) who are grateful for what they make, which is astounding amounts of money. Or, let’s start with just one.

  3. These rookie contracts just seem too long. If the average career is less than 3 years, and even great players are often washing out by the time they turn 31, it seems crazy to have players at such a discount until they turn 26 or 27. Particularly when the NFL already limits them to being at least 20 or 21 before they are allowed to enter the draft.

    3 years with a team option for 4 seems like it would be better for the players. The players really caved in every aspect on that last CBA.

  4. jets beat writers are trying to make this an issue. wilkerson has been quite vocal about NOT holding out or making a fuss about a contract extension. he said as a leader he’d be letting his team down by not being there. essentially, he is the anti revis.

  5. How do you not appreciate Wilkerson? A player that is honoring his contract with the understanding that he will get his big contract at the appropriate time.

    Right, the NY media doesn’t know what to make of this which is why this topic has come up at least a dozen times since March. Wilkerson is the Anti-Revis folks and as a lifelong Jets fan I could not be more pleased.

  6. I call it the JaMarcus Russell rule. If Al Davis hadn’t drafted him first in the draft and him turning out to be such a big bust after being paid something like 40 mil, than the case wouldn’t have been so pronounced as an excuse not to pay rookies outrageous sums of money when they have never played a down in the NFL. Personally, I agree with that philosophy, except that the contracts should be shorter (especially in the case of now devalued, taented running backs).

  7. This guy is the real deal, and I hate the Jets.

    Their D-Line is young, and only going to get better.

  8. why is it that when a player complains about being under-paid, most people on this site start comparing their Jobs? FOLKS get over it, nobody wants to watch you do your job or even blog about you.

    With that said, compared to other DEs, yes Muhammad you are grossly under-paid, but you signed your contract, so live up to it and I am sure the Jets will give you what you deserve soon enough.

  9. Your value is based on how much money you earn the company and more importantly how easily you can be replaced. Sorry, but a guy on an oil rig can be replaced in a matter of an hour or less. An All Pro Defensive end in the NFL IS NOT REPLACEABLE. Based on those two factors and his employer is a Billion Dollar company I’d say he’s underpaid.

  10. “These clowns never know when to be quiet.”

    Says the guy who no one will ever care about.

  11. Steelfan1 – I agree with everything you said EXCEPT this part, “but you signed your contract, so live up to it”. Rookies in the NFL have no control over who drafts them, when they are drafted or over how much money they get. The contract is already set by the CBA and they have to sign it or they don’t play in the NFL. That’s why I have sympathy for rookies in the NFL that are underpaid. Russell Wilson will be the lowest paid QB on his roster this year.

    I don’t have sympathy for NFL players on their second contract. They can test the market and can sign any deal they want. They have a choice. Players like Vernon Davis and Marshawn Lynch need to show up and honour the contract.

  12. it sucks that he lives in new york and almost 65% of his wages are taxed, so he’s basically a middle class citizen with that salary, especially after cost of living.

  13. Ok, I was off, it’s more like under 50% tax rate…after you add state and local taxes, but still that’s not very much to cover you with cost of living there. He’s basically upper middle class, and an NFL pro bowler…that’s sad.

  14. I am not a JETs fan, I don’t hate them, it’s just that I am a GIANTS fan.

    But this guy will get taken care of. He is a great player.

    JETs will make noise this year as long as Geno avoids Turnovers, which he should be able to do after a year in the system.

    Marty Morn. gets the most out of his QBs.

    JETs will be a Wild Card team this year. So wil lthe GIANTS.

    The JETs have put a lot of talent back on the roster., and Rex is a pretty good HC.

  15. Also, not to mention he has to pay agency fees which are probably 10-15% of his salary, so that’s a hidden “tax”…so his after tax and after agency income this year will be like 540k….that just makes me sick for him.

  16. Aren’t the Jets sitting on a ton of money? I’d pay now with this guy rather than later. He’s good!!

  17. The way the current rookie contracts are setup, it encourages players who have played better than their rookie contracts to test the market in free agency. I actually think it’s good for the league because if a team is willing to pay than they can get better in free agency, while teams who want to retain their players get weaker by overpaying. The NFL is all about spreading the talent because a competitive league is an exciting league.

  18. To the people saying it’s a joke that he thinks he’s underpaid, he’s right. If you work at an office making 50k a year and the guy across the street does the same work as you but makes 100k you would complain too. Just because he’s making more money than us doesn’t mean he should be content. Contracts should be based on position. Rookie qbs and linemen have longer careers so theirs should be kept the same but rbs and receivers should have shorter contracts. It would benefit the league and make free agency more exciting

  19. fantom21,
    Your analogy only works IF that worker is under contract. The worker making half of what his neighbor makes can go work somewhere else, or ask for a raise (with the option to quit or go to another co). Really can’t compare regular jobs to Pro players.

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