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