First stop, Green Bay: Muhammad Wilkerson to visit Packers on Wednesday

Tom Silverstein
Packers News
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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson gestures after a play against the Buffalo Bills during the second half of an NFL game Nov. 2, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J.

GREEN BAY - Free agent Muhammad Wilkerson is wasting no time exploring the possibility of reconnecting with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in Green Bay.

Wilkerson, a former Pro Bowl defensive end who was released Monday by the New York Jets, will visit with the Packers on Wednesday, according to a source. He has other visits set up as well, but chose to come to Green Bay first.

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Pettine was the defensive coordinator for the Jets in 2011 when they chose Wilkerson with the 30th overall selection. The 6-4, 315-pound Wilkerson evolved into an accomplished pass rusher, recording 10½ sacks in 2013 and 12 in 2015. 

Wilkerson, 28, can play any position on the defensive line and is familiar with Pettine's hybrid 4-3/3-4 scheme. He would bolster an interior that already features Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark, but money could be an issue.

Wilkerson's last contract averaged $17.2 million a year. He signed a five-year, $86 million deal in 2016, $37 million of which he has received.

General manager Brian Gutekunst said he would be aggressive in pursuing free agents, but he also said that didn’t mean the Packers would overspend.

The Jets parted ways with Wilkerson after two disappointing seasons marred by leg, shoulder and toe injuries. He had just 3½ sacks in 13 games last season.

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