Wilk­er­son vis­its Green Bay; play­ers, teams prep for free agency

Packer Plus - - Front Page - TOM SILVERSTEIN

Free-agent de­fen­sive end Muham­mad Wilk­er­son de­parted from Green Bay af­ter meet­ing with coaches and team per­son­nel March 7-8 and was sched­uled to take two other vis­its. But a source said Wilk­er­son's visit with the Pack­ers was very pos­i­tive.

Wilk­er­son, who was re­leased March 5 by the Jets, chose to visit the Pack­ers first, in part be­cause of his re­la­tion­ship with de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike Pet­tine, who was in a sim­i­lar job with the Jets when Wilk­er­son was drafted in the first round in 2011. Wilk­er­son was also ex­pected to visit the Saints and Chiefs, a source said.

In his seven years with the Jets, Wilk­er­son never made it to the play­offs and his pri­or­ity has been to join a win­ning team. The Pack­ers, Saints and Chiefs have been peren­nial play­off teams and would ben­e­fit if Wilk­er­son were to play like the guy who had 281⁄ sacks from 2013-'15. 2

The Jets re­leased Wilk­er­son, 28, af­ter two down sea­sons in which he dealt with leg, shoul­der and toe in­juries. In 2016, he was still re­cov­er­ing from a bro­ken leg suf­fered late the pre­vi­ous sea­son and man­aged just 4½ sacks. Last sea­son, he was banged up and man­aged just 3½ sacks in 13 games. The Pack­ers also un­doubt­edly wanted to ad­dress Wilk­er­son's re­ported tar­di­ness for meet­ings.

Wilk­er­son's deal with the Jets av­er­aged $17.2 mil­lion a year. But the Pack­ers are likely to want a three-year deal sim­i­lar to what they did with Julius Pep­pers with a three-year, $26 mil­lion deal in 2014.


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