clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Jets give up on Muhammad Wilkerson after he gave up in 2017

New, comment

Wilkerson was habitually late to meetings and the Jets had no choice but to move on.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets spent years trying to reach a long-term agreement with Muhammad Wilkerson and finally did with a five-year, $86 million deal in 2016. But now, just two seasons later, Wilkerson’s days in New York are over after the defensive lineman was released Wednesday, as announced by the team.

Wilkerson, 28, was a first-round pick in 2011 and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl in his fifth season. That 2015 breakout year came after the Jets picked up his fifth-year option and took Leonard Williams with the No. 6 pick in April, sparking trade rumors involving Wilkerson.

The defensive lineman was then franchised in 2016 and publicly complained about how the Jets handled his contract situation.

“It’s shocking. It’s frustrating,” Wilkerson told the New York Post. “Because I feel like I’ve earned [a new contract] and I deserve it. It would be different if I was just a mediocre player. I feel like each and every week I’m dominating and it’s showing. The stats speak for themselves. Basically, what more do I need to do? You know what I mean?”

But the hard feelings were seemingly left in the past when Wilkerson signed a five-year deal with the Jets in 2016.

Muhammad Wilkerson became a hassle for the Jets

In the two seasons after Wilkerson signed his long-term deal, he dealt with ankle and shoulder injuries, and there was a drop off in his play. He racked up 12 sacks in 2015, but just eight in the last two years for the Jets.

But his fate was sealed when he was a healthy scratch for the final three games of 2017 due to violations of team rules.

According to NJ Advance Media, Wilkerson regularly showed up late to the Jets’ morning meetings and sometimes missed them altogether. It eventually added up and he was left in New York when the Jets traveled to New Orleans to play the Saints in Week 15. He was scratched the next two weeks as well.

Now, Wilkerson will have to convince a team that he’ll be the player who was one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the league in 2015 and not the one who didn’t care to show up for meetings in 2017.

The Jets add to their ample cap room by releasing Wilkerson

New York was already among the league leaders in cap space, but moving Wilkerson off the roster clears at least $11 million more from the books in 2018.

With more than $80 million in cap space, that perhaps doesn’t matter much. Although, the additional room could be used as a way to offer Kirk Cousins a contract that can’t be matched by teams with less cap space.

The Jets still have work to do to be a contender, but removing Wilkerson and getting savings that can be used in 2018 is a good way to push the team forward.