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Jets exercise fifth-year option on Muhammad Wilkerson

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Muhammad Wilkerson (96) has emerged as a centerpiece of the Jets' defense. (USATSI)
Muhammad Wilkerson (96) has emerged as a centerpiece of the Jets' defense. (USATSI)

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The Jets got a steal when they took Muhammad Wilkerson with the 30th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. They'll keep that steal at least through 2015.

The Jets have exercised their fifth-year option on Wilkerson in advance of the May 3 deadline, a league source confirmed to CBSSports.com.

He's not the first defensive lineman whose option was picked up and he won't be the last (we saw reports of J.J. Watt's option being picked up surface on Thursday).

Wilkerson has been the anchor of Rex Ryan's defense for the past two years, emerging as one of the better (and more underrated) defensive lineman in the NFL.

Paired with Sheldon Richardson, he's a force up front for the Jets.

No doubt the team will be interested in a long-term deal for Wilkerson too, but it can, like all the teams with 2011 and on rookies, be patient.

Theoretically the Jets could let 2014 and 2015 play out -- Wilkerson's option year is only guaranteed for injury -- and then franchise tag him in 2016.

More than likely they'll seek to lock up the defensive lineman for the long haul.

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