The move to dismiss Wilkerson came ahead of March 16, when his $16.75 million salary for 2018 would have become fully guaranteed.
Wilkerson was due to count $20 million against the cap, the league's fourth-highest cap charge for a non-quarterback. By cutting him, the Jets will save $11 million.
The 28-year-old Wilkerson sat out the last three games of the 2017 season reportedly because he was late for a team meeting on Dec. 15. Multiple outlets reported that he was kept off the field because the team was concerned about potential injury, which could have resulted in New York being on the hook for his 2018 salary.
Wilkerson and the Jets were on much better terms in 2015, when he posted a career-high 12 sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl.
The Jets used the franchise tag on Wilkerson for 2016, but the sides worked out what became a five-year, $86 million extension before the July 15 deadline.
Wilkerson has recorded 404 tackles and 44.5 sacks in 105 career games since being selected by the Jets with the 30th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.