It doesn’t appear that Jets franchise player Muhammad Wilkerson will be traded, as general manager Mike Maccagnan essentially confirmed tonight. “I would not envision that happening,” said Maccagnan (Twitter links via Brian Costello of the New York Post and Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News).
Wilkerson, 26, enjoyed his best season as a pro in 2015, racking up a career-high 12 sacks and forcing three fumbles, to go along with 64 tackles. Arguably the best defensive player for the Jets last season, Wilkerson also earned his first Pro Bowl berth. However, he broke his leg during New York’s regular-season finale, and while that injury isn’t expected to sideline him at all next season, it may have been a strike against his trade value.
After being franchised, Wilkerson is currently projected to earn a $15.701MM base salary in 2016. The Jets are comfortable enough with that sum for this season, but they are not looking to pay him that kind of salary on a long-term deal.
Wilkerson, who has not yet signed his franchise tender, is not expected to participate in the Jets’ voluntary offseason program. Even though he followed the same path as Josh Norman in that regard, GM Mike Maccagnan recently told reporters that he will not rescind Wilkerson’s franchise tag.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.