This week, Sheldon Richardson has become Muhammad Wilkerson‘s spokesperson, for all intents and purposes. Wilkerson is trying not to air his dirty laundry with the Jets in the New York tabloids, but Richardson is more than happy to talk. Earlier today, he told reporters that his teammate and friend should be the league’s next $100MM man.
“He’s worth that penny,” Richardson said of Wilkerson. “And you know what penny I’m talking about. … We don’t just want J.J. Watt money. We want it all. We want [Ndamukong] Suh money. Hopefully everybody wants that type of bread in this league.”
The PR director of Team Wilkerson didn’t stop there, telling Jets beat reporters “If Gerald McCoy can get $100MM, I’m pretty sure my guy Mo Wilkerson can get $100MM.”
Of course, “Can” and “Should” are two different things. Can Wilkerson get $100MM from the Jets? Probably not, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, who noted that the team has leverage thanks to the presence of No. 6 overall pick Leonard Williams. The presence of Wilkerson’s buddy Richardson, another top defensive lineman, also damages his leverage. Barring something unforeseen, it may be a fruitless exercise to debate whether Wilkerson will get that $100MM deal from Gang Green this offseason. The better question might be whether he deserves $100MM.
Wilkerson’s credentials are undoubtedly impressive. The 25-year-old (26 in October) is widely regarded as the second best 3-4 defensive end in the league, after the historically dominant J.J. Watt. According to Pro Football Focus, Wilkerson graded out as the second-best at his position in 2012 and third-best in 2014 (subscription required). Watt finished first in each of the past three seasons.
Still, $100MM ain’t exactly chump change and that tier is really for players who are selected to the Pro Bowl year in and year out. In the case of Wilkerson, he has earned second team All-Pro selections in each of the past three years from either Pro Football Focus or the AP, but he has yet to get a first-team nod. Is Wilkerson elite? Absolutely. Is he $100MM elite? That’s the question we’re asking you. Vote below and give us your thoughts in the comments section.