This could be the beginning of the end for the Jets and Muhammad Wilkerson. Wilkerson will not make the trip with the team to New Orleans, coach Todd Bowles told reporters on Friday. Bowles added that it’s a coach’s decision.
Wilkerson has failed to show up on time for several team functions this year, leading to serious friction between him and the coaching staff. Earlier this month, the Jets benched the defensive lineman for the first quarter of their game against the Chiefs. The Jets went on to win that game without one of their highest-paid players on the field at the outset.
The Jets gave Wilkerson a five-year, $86MM deal in the summer of 2016 and, so far, that’s looking like a huge mistake. Insubordination aside, Wilkerson’s production has been all around flat. The Temple product ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 51 ranked interior defender in the NFL while getting paid as though he is one of the league’s very best. The traditional numbers also indicate a slide. Wilkerson had 12 sacks in his contract year (2015), but he has recorded just eight sacks combined over the last two seasons.
The Jets can create $11MM in cap space by releasing Wilkerson this offseason, and that seems like a definite possibility at this point. Recently, a team source told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that Wilkerson will be “gone” this offseason.
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