Muhammad Wilkerson hoping for "another shot"

The veteran defensive end seems open to another year in the Green and Gold. 

Packers defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson saw his one year in Green Bay cut short early when he suffered a brutal injury in Week 3 of the 2018 regular season. 

With Wilkerson set to be a free agent in a few weeks, The Athletic's Michael Cohen spoke to the veterean defensive lineman about his injury, his road back and a possible return to the Green and Gold.

From Cohen:

For his part, Wilkerson would love another opportunity in Green Bay. He enjoyed reuniting with Pettine and believes the defense will take a significant step forward next season. He developed strong relationships with his fellow linemen, from starters like Clark and Daniels to key backups like Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster, who Wilkerson said the whole unit cheered throughout the season as injuries mounted.

And, perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson enjoyed the change in scenery from New York to Wisconsin, where life moves at a slower pace and everything centers on football.

“I like it here a lot,” Wilkerson said. “I came here to prove that I can play at a high level and that was cut short. But that’s how the game goes sometimes. I definitely want to get another shot to show what I can do.”

One would tend to think the Packers could bring back Wilkerson on a very team friendly deal and see how he rounds into shape.

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Comments (47)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Curt's picture

February 13, 2019 at 09:23 am

I'm all for resigning him at a deal similar to 2018 assuming he has recovered completely (if that is even possible these days) - sounds like it took 2 surgeries to get it right. Even a 2 year 9 mil deal based primarily on roster bonuses would allow GB to deal with other areas than the DL and let him work back in - He is only 28!!

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TheVOR's picture

February 13, 2019 at 11:03 am

He's a beast when healthy. He's one of the two UFA's I'm really wanting them to resign him and Breland.

I also really like the idea of 2 years on a very team friendly and incentive laden deal that is a pay if you play and performance incentive based deal, that treats him fairly if he plays well. He seem like he might be open to it, and enjoyed the org and Pettine.

Whats not to like..

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Minniman's picture

February 13, 2019 at 12:44 pm

Thumbs up from me ........ and you've been hanging around TGR again!

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dobber's picture

February 17, 2019 at 08:09 pm

He'll be 30 in October.

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carlos's picture

February 13, 2019 at 09:24 am

Half the battle of signing players is getting players who want to be in Green Bay. I’d like to see him come back on a fair contract. If healthy he’ll probably do his job and be happy where he’s at. Can’t have enough of them types. He has unfinished business in Green Bay.

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carlos's picture

February 13, 2019 at 09:26 am

Glad you added his age Curt because I was wondering about his age. That makes me want to sign him even more. Like you said, as long as he’s healthy.

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carlos's picture

February 13, 2019 at 09:28 am

Also he understands Petine’s system and has built a friendship with his teammates. Another important key to a championship team.

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Lare's picture

February 13, 2019 at 02:47 pm

Pettine & Montgomery certainly know what they'd have in Wilkerson. There's always attrition on the DL throughout the season, Wilkerson would be a good addition if he can stay healthy.

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Since'61's picture

February 13, 2019 at 09:30 am

My guess is that if Pettine wants him back and he can be signed for the right price he will be back. If he is fully recovered he can be a solid player.

His experience can be a benefit to our young DLs. I wouldn't mind seeing him back if the price is right. Thanks, Since '61

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Ezra's Hotdog's picture

February 13, 2019 at 09:54 am

I agree, Then it would be; Clark, Daniels, Lowry, Wilkerson, Lancaster and Adams.

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carlos's picture

February 13, 2019 at 11:56 am

And maybe a draft pick.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 13, 2019 at 11:52 am

They can watch him try to play through an ankle injury like Perry and Taylor's contributions. No Thanks.

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Lphill's picture

February 13, 2019 at 09:32 am

yes give him another chance, veteran presence much needed. still young.

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Handsback's picture

February 13, 2019 at 09:36 am

I hope they resign him, but don't be surprised if he's the one off the bench to spell Lowry.

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Leatherhead's picture

February 13, 2019 at 01:43 pm

Here's the DL Math.

We usually play two at a time and we have 5 active on gameday, another on the inactive , and one more on the Practice Squad.

Daniels, Clark, Lowry, Adams, and Lancaster are already under contract for 2019. None of them are practice squad eligible. We could carry one more on the 53 man roster and if it's Wilkerson then we've got a pretty powerful squad.

Or, we could spend a premium draft pick on a DL. After all, Daniels and Lowry are both in their contract years. Get another horse in the rotation with Clark and we'll have an interior defense that's pretty good.

Personally, I'm in favor of trading down a little and getting 8 picks in the first 114, and using one of those picks on a DL.

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nostradanus's picture

February 13, 2019 at 10:43 am

Bring the Big Man back at a team friendly deal with a second year option.

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stockholder's picture

February 13, 2019 at 10:53 am

I wasn't that impressed with him. I didn't see a difference maker. He will never be an All-pro. Ankle injuries can end careers. He'll limp I'm sure. I'm against bringing him back. The packers should not invest anymore time and money in him, or players hoping to extend their careers. I Know competition will make this team better. But we need better. Are we becoming the best team money can buy? Or a Social security alternative? I 'm looking to get better.

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Tundraboy's picture

February 13, 2019 at 11:07 am

Only 3 games. due to freak injury no less
.

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stockholder's picture

February 13, 2019 at 11:12 am

Packer stats. Regular Season
5
3 assists
0.0 sacks

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PackerAaron's picture

February 13, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Not sure what stats tell us about a 3-4 DE. The tape shows a guy who was solid if unspectacular. He doesn't need to be an All Pro, esp if he's on a team friendly deal.

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stockholder's picture

February 13, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Wouldn't you really rather have Daryl Williams instead?

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PackerAaron's picture

February 13, 2019 at 12:43 pm

That'd be an odd fit at defensive end... ;)

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stockholder's picture

February 13, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Move Clarke over like Raji.

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Rak47's picture

February 13, 2019 at 01:44 pm

Uhm No! leave Clark where he is and bring back Wilkerson. I'm sure he feels he has much to prove and should be motivated. Not sure what you expected to see out of him in 3 games. There were a number of players on the Packers that were nondescript if were talking 3 game sample sizes here.

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Oppy's picture

February 13, 2019 at 03:55 pm

1) Don't move Clark anywhere. He's a true inside lineman, has the strength and the disposition to play true NT (despite his lack of mammoth weight) as proven by his ability to play the double team with great anchor

2) Please don't mention Kenny Clark and BJ Raji in the same breath. Clark is hands down a superior DL than Raji.

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Rak47's picture

February 13, 2019 at 02:19 pm

As you mentioned, wanting to play in GB means something as well. Most fans don't really think about where players want to play and how that equates into the big picture. I know if I were playing and was a FA, Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, and Dallas would not be in play.

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carlos's picture

February 13, 2019 at 11:59 am

Lineman sometimes go unnoticed when doing there job on both offensive and defense. It’s when they make a mistake they stick out. Always need the no frills grinder types.

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The TKstinator's picture

February 13, 2019 at 10:05 pm

Linemen.
Them guys is indispensable.

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Minniman's picture

February 13, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Some really valid concerns stockholder. I suppose that the good thing is that in this instance, with a reasonable positional depth and a touted draft class, then if Mo-Wilk comes back then it will be because he is ready-and-raring-to-go and not because of the Packers needs.

I personally thought that he played a little better each game that he was involved in and was building to a good combo with Daniels and Clark.

I've posted before that if the draft doesn't fall favorably for the packers then I wouldn't be disappointed with another high end d-lineman.

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stockholder's picture

February 13, 2019 at 01:26 pm

In 2010 this was your Def. Line. 95 Howard Green NT
77 Cullen Jenkins DE
79 Ryan Pickett DE
90 B. J. Raji NT
98 C. J. Wilson DE
94 Jarius Wynn DE. Pickett was moved inside. Jenkins Left. In 2018 All 3 starters were hurt. Wilkerson started to play better. True. The problem I see is keeping Clarke injury free. Slow Feet help a OL set up better. Clarks speed is better then Wilkersons. I'm trying to get the push and speed to beat an OL. I didn't see enough speed from Wilkerson. He will be slower with the lay-off. And may never meet the expectations of a new contract.

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Minniman's picture

February 13, 2019 at 05:00 pm

Great points again - totally agree all round. If he is retained then he has to be a leading contributor, not a JAG.

The Packers too will have plenty of tape and visibility of him pre-injury last year to compare against - so are well positioned to know if he's dropping off a cliff.

Somewhat coldly, I would say that the market for Mo is not going to be active till after the draft, so the Packers have time from the start of season to do their due diligence on him.

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The TKstinator's picture

February 14, 2019 at 06:49 am

I’d wager they already have.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

February 13, 2019 at 11:29 am

It does not matter if he is a difference maker.
How many defensive difference makers play on the packer defense?
He is top half of the DL roster already and with upside.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

February 13, 2019 at 01:07 pm

as long as they get him cheap as possible one-year deal

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Skip greenBayless's picture

February 13, 2019 at 01:30 pm

I'd like to see Wilkerson return as long as the contract is incentive based. I don't want this to end like it did with Joe Johnson.

Dash

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lou's picture

February 14, 2019 at 05:46 pm

The difference was Johnson got bucks guaranteed and then tanked just like Cletidus Hunt did later. What a shame, Johnson with the Saints was almost unblockable prior to coming to Green Bay, a mini version of Reggie White. The Packers have all the leverage on dollars/years to sign him and it will be the training staff and Petine's call. He starred slow this year but McCarthy played the starters so little in the pre-season and that has to be factored in.
The only bigger bust than Johnson and Hunt was Jamal Reynolds the former #1 pick from Florida State, he was a boy against men from day one. Be happy about Clarke, he was the Real Deal day one.

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Slim11's picture

February 13, 2019 at 01:49 pm

Joe Johnson was a horrible signing. That was the first season Mike Sherman was HC and GM.

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Leatherhead's picture

February 13, 2019 at 02:01 pm

When Thompson arrived, he specifically referenced the Joe Johnson signing as an example of how easy it is to make big mistakes in free agency. It's a part of the reason he eschewed FA as GM. If you play with matches, you will get burned and Thompson did not get burned in free agency very often. Bennett, of course, but that's another rant.

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Nick Perry's picture

February 15, 2019 at 06:07 am

Yes Johnson was a HUGE mistake...But Reggie White wasn't. Neither was Eugene Robinson, Sean Jones, Santana Dotson, or Keith Jackson. It all depends I guess on who and what you're buying.

Mike Sherman was a HORRIBLE GM and just about anything Thompson did was an improvement. Ted did exactly the right thing when he got here. He got rid of aging high priced veterans and started drafting quality players and stockpiling positions. What Thompson did in the draft from 2005 through 2010 was what brought the Packers a SB along with Woodson, Pickett, and yes, Howard Green.

BUT the reason the Packers didn't win another SB especially from 2011 to 2014 was what Thompson didn't do and we all know what Ted didn't do.

Like TK said, the Packers KNOW how well Wilkerson is going to recover or have a good idea. Bring him back if he's affordable and make the deal full of incentives.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 13, 2019 at 04:02 pm

It is hard to judge Wilkerson's play. For three games I'd agree that he was competent if unspectacular, but he might have come on as he acclimated more or if the OLBs were better.

I was thinking something like $3M in base salary, $250K work out cash, plus another $500K in game-active roster bonuses. In addition, I'd be fine with some incentives that can be achieved realistically for another million. The only thing semi-guaranteed would be the work out bonus. That would be a $3.34M cap number. IDK what Wilkerson thinks would be fair.

The best player on the board at pick #12 and #30 might well be a defensive lineman. Clark, Daniels, Lowry and probably Lancaster aren't going anywhere. We also have M. Adams and Fadol Brown.

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albert999's picture

February 13, 2019 at 04:08 pm

Wilkerson physical and incentive based only resign!
Draft a DL in 4th round or 2

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albert999's picture

February 13, 2019 at 04:08 pm

i meant or 2 DL’s not 2nd round

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egbertsouse's picture

February 13, 2019 at 04:24 pm

At this point he’s a JAG. He could be a wide body to plug in the rotation if you can get him really cheap

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Jonathan Spader's picture

February 13, 2019 at 10:37 pm

I don't see Wilkerson as JAG he has upside along with the risk. He never really showed what he could do in 2018. Doesn't mean he can't be good in 2019. If GB can get him on a prove it deal go for it!

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Cartwright's picture

February 13, 2019 at 05:12 pm

I think Sheldon Richardson had a one year prove it deal with the Vikings, he played for Pettine too and not coming off a "brutal" injury, and when that adjective is used in football it must have been gruesome. Why chance it even on a team friendly deal. Wilkerson just seemed ordinary last year, whereas Richardson lasted a whole season and had his moments.
Sign Wilkerson? no thanks, I see another Nick Perry waiting to happen.

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albert999's picture

February 13, 2019 at 06:13 pm

Well said!

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

February 17, 2019 at 07:46 pm

Just keep Brice away from him...

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