Citing team insiders, the Daily News’ Manish Mehta reported Thursday that the underachieving defensive end and Gang Green are headed for a divorce after this season.
“He’s gone,” a team source told the Daily News.
Wilkerson has provided more distraction than production since signing a five-year, $86 million contract before the 2016 season.
Jets coach Todd Bowles benched Wilkerson for most of the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs for being late to a team meeting. According to an NJ.com source, Wilkerson has regularly showed up late to morning meetings this season and missed some altogether.
Last season, Wilkerson was benched for the first quarter of a game against the Miami Dolphins, also for being late to team meetings. The day before another game, he reportedly missed a walk-through and a defensive meeting, where a birthday party for him was planned.
Meanwhile, his production on the field has dropped off considerably. The year before he signed his megacontract, Wilkerson, a first-round draft pick in 2011, had 12 sacks and was selected to the Pro Bowl. But in the two seasons since, he has a total of seven sacks — just 2 1/2 this year.
Wilkerson refused to answer questions Wednesday about his latest benching, telling reporters, “If you ain’t got no Denver questions, you don’t need to ask me anything.” The Jets visit the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
The Jets could get out of Wilkerson’s contract by releasing him before his 2018 salary becomes guaranteed in March. According to OverTheCap.com, if they designate Wilkerson a post-June 1 cut, they would have to eat $3 million in dead salary-cap money, but free up $17 million.