Muhammad Wilkerson signs five-year deal with Jets

In a stunning final chapter to Franchise Tag Friday, the Jets have locked up defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson with a massively lucrative long-term contract.

The team announced the deal on their Twitter page, putting an end to a summer-long drama that never appeared headed for a happy conclusion.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Wilkerson's extension will pay him roughly $17 million per season over five seasons, per a source who has seen the contract. The pact, worth $86 million in full (including $53.5 million in guarantees over three years, $36.75 million fully guaranteed through Year Two and a $15 million signing bonus) will pay the Jets centerpiece more than Houston's J.J. Watt.

"(It's) a deal that, let's be honest, nobody really thought was going to happen considering how much the Jets have invested in the defensive tackle position, given the other talented players they have there," Rapoport told NFL Network. "Their unwillingness to step up to the plate for Wilkerson for more than a year, well, today, in pretty stunning and stealth fashion, they did all of that. You won't be reading any more quotes about how Muhammad Wilkerson feels underappreciated."

Chalk it up as a coup for Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, who hammered out the pact just ahead of Friday's 4 p.m. ET deadline. With the sixth-year defensive cornerstone under contract for the next half decade, New York's line promises to be a rowdy beast deep into the future.

"I give my all every Sunday on the field and play with so much love and passion for the game," Wilkerson said in a tweet Friday. "I'm thankful for everything that comes my way and proud to say I'm back on the green and white for a few more years."

With Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams alongside him, the 26-year-old Wilkerson is set up for another huge year. He was sensational last season, leading the team with 12 sacks and earning his first Pro Bowl bid as a quarterback-crushing whirlwind who has yet to reach his full potential.

Twenty-four hours ago, many wondered if Wilkerson would even show up to camp after sitting out mandatory minicamp and refusing to sign his $15.7 million franchise tag.

"It's shocking. It's frustrating," Wilkerson said in June of the contract stalemate, saying: "Do I feel that they want me back? As of right now, no. I don't feel like they want me."

Forget all that. Here in mid-July, the Jets have changed their tune and made Wilkerson one of the NFL's wealthiest players. Now it's time for New York to put a bookend on their chaotic offseason by getting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick under contract.

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