Muhammad Wilkerson may have played his final down for the Jets. The seventh-year defensive end did not make the trip to New Orleans for the Jets’ Week 15 game, and Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports it was because Wilkerson was “very late” to the team facility.
This latest tardiness episode involved a meeting on Friday morning, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Wilkerson has endured issues showing up on time for meetings during his Jets run, with another instance having occurred earlier this month. That led Todd Bowles to bench him for a period during the Jets’ Week 13 win over the Chiefs.
Multiple team sources confirmed to Vacchiano there is “no chance” Wilkerson is on the Jets on the third day of the 2018 league year, when his $16.75MM salary shifts from guaranteed against injury to fully guaranteed. Wilkerson’s suspension could last longer than the Jets’ Week 15 game against the Saints, Vacchiano reports, adding the team should just bench him for the rest of the season. And this could well be because of that salary guarantee.
The Jets will still carry $9MM in dead money upon releasing Wilkerson, but unlike this year, they can afford such a penalty. Gang Green’s expected to hold more than $70MM in cap space.
If this is the end for Wilkerson and the Jets, the 2011 first-round pick has 44.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles and 28 pass deflections. Only eight of those 44.5 sacks came since he signed that mammoth extension in 2016, however.
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