Free agent defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson will spend Monday evening getting wined and dined by the Washington Redskins.
The former New York Jet, who is in town on a free agent visit, is scheduled to have dinner with members of the organization before meeting with Redskins coaches at the team’s facility on Tuesday, according to a person with knowledge of Wilkerson’s plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The question now is: Will Washington let Wilkerson, one of the biggest free agent names available, leave Ashburn without a deal?
The Redskins are in the market for more defensive line help, and one thing that could work in Washington’s favor is the fact that Wilkerson has always played close to home. He was born in Elizabeth, N.J., went to high school in nearby Linden and later played collegiately for Temple before being drafted 30th overall by the Jets in 2011.
The 28-year-old has garnered plenty of interest so far, most notably from the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs, but Wilkerson’s tight-knit family could be another factor in his decision.
For all of his obvious talent, however, red flags have been raised about his work ethic. Wilkerson recorded 44½ sacks in eight seasons with the Jets, including a personal-best 12 in 2015 before he broke his right fibula in the Jets’ Week 17 loss in Buffalo.
But although that career year helped earn Wilkerson a five-year, $86 million extension in 2016 and a Pro Bowl nod, his production has since waned. He registered 4½ and 3½ sacks, respectively, in 2016 and 2017. Complicating matters for Wilkerson were issues with tardiness to team meetings, which resulted in him being benched at various points each of the past three seasons.
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