When the New York Jets signed defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson to a five-year, $88 million deal in 2016, they surely expected a better return on investment than they’ve received.
Wilkerson has been a regular problem for the Jets lately, and they seem done with him. Coach Todd Bowles said Wilkerson will be left home when the Jets travel to play the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. He made it clear Wilkerson was healthy and it was a coach’s decision. That seems like the final straw for Wilkerson’s Jets career.
“Just worrying about the guys I’m coaching,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said in a clipped news conference.
In 2015, Wilkerson was coming off a 12-sack, Pro Bowl season. He has eight sacks in two seasons combined since signing his mega-deal. Even worse, Wilkerson reportedly shows up late to team meetings on a regular basis. Bowles has tried to discipline him. In three straight seasons, Wilkerson was suspended for a quarter of a game for routinely showing up late to meetings. Obviously, the message still hasn’t gotten through.
Wilkerson hasn’t been a bad player, but he hasn’t been worth that contract and he might not be worth the trouble anymore. He has a $20 million cap number in 2018 and the Jets can save $11 million in cap space by cutting him. You’d assume, with them leaving Wilkerson home for Sunday’s game, they have reached the end of their rope and would rather eat $9 in dead space to get rid of Wilkerson and his unremarkable production.
Assuming Wilkerson becomes a free agent next offseason, some team will take a chance on his talent. Buyer beware.
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