|Muhammad Wilkerson – NJ.COM|
An interesting thing is happening that no one in New York saw coming. Muhammad Wilkerson, one of the best players Defensive Ends in the league, has lost all leverage with his contract in a contract year. This is a rare position to be in as a player of his talent. It pains me to say this, but the Jets should not extend the Muhammad Wilkerson’s contract, and it’s of no fault of his own. Muhammad Wilkerson holding out might be the right thing to do, because every time he steps on the field without a contract extension he is risking at least 35 million dollars in guaranteed money. In a league where players career’s end in a flash, it’s not a selfish decision if he does not to show up, but a smart one.
With Muhammad (Mo) Wilkerson’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, nothing says he will not be a Jet next year due to the Franchise Tag. Unfortunately for Muhammad, the Jets will most likely “Franchise Tag” him next year and he will not get his big payday he seeks long term with the Jets. He will test the open market after the Franchise tag and leave most likely if it comes down to that in 2017. What’s best for business is Franchise and trade at the end of this season, or risk losing him the year afterwards. One thought fans have been expressing is that Mo should take a home team discount to stay with the Jets. This is not realistic, and just like any other working individual, Mo would be wise to take every dollar he can get.
The other two defensive ends on the roster are locked up for longer terms. The Jets just drafted a Defensive End with the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft, Leonard Williams. Leonard was arguably the best player in the draft, and it was a shock that he fell so far in the draft when he was available for the Jets. The Jets decided to draft the best available player (whom they claim was top three on their board) and now three is a crowd. Also the Jets have Sheldon Richardson, who the NFL ranked nineteen places ahead of Muhammad on the top 100 NFL players rating list. Sheldon has two more years on his contract, and is also a candidate to be franchise tagged at the end of this 2nd year. What this means, is the Jets have two stud DE’s locked up for at least three years WITHOUT Mo. Mo is a luxury at this point, and with the other big free agent signings in the off season on defense (Revis and Cromartie specifically) one the Jets can not afford.
Another factor in why the Jet’s should not spend big money on Mo is Geno Smith. Geno is a cheap option at QB, but also an unknown. If he cannot play up to the level the Jets hope, the Jets will still win enough games to not be at the bottom of the draft, so they can kiss their prospects of obtaining a top prospect at QB in the draft goodbye. Their only hope is to acquire a quality Quarterback will be via free agency, and they do not come cheap. Money will need to be ready for that possibility.
It’s Unfortunate, but sometimes, all the hard work in the world, and natural talent can not beat one thing: fate. A fate the Jets pushed along by drafting a top tier player at arguably their strongest position. While we will see the three of these players together, giving the defensive line fits, expect this to be Muhammad Wilkerson’s swan song in New York. Enjoy it while it lasts.