New York Jets: What will they do with Muhammad Wilkerson?


The New York Jets have had a magnificent offseason.

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Starting in free agency, the Jets were able to improve the team greatly with numerous great signings, which including the return of Darrelle Revis. In the NFL Draft, the Jets once again got rave reviews, as they selected arguably the best player in the draft with the sixth pick.

The drafting of defensive end Leonard Williams was a bit shocking because most people didn’t expect him to be on the board for the Jets. The selection of Williams instantly brought to mind the situation surrounding defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson.

Drafting Williams fueled speculation that the Jets could be looking to trade Wilkerson.

“Right now, Muhammad is on our team and we’re not actively trying to shop Muhammad,” Maccagnan said to Brian Costello of the New York Post, “so at this point he’s part of us and obviously at some point in time we are going to talk to him and his agent and kind of proceed forward.”

New York had a very good defensive line prior to drafting Williams, as Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison have all played well for the Jets.

Wilkerson is in the final year of his contract, and is currently skipping voluntary workouts in protest. In four seasons with the Jets, Wilkerson has become one of the better defensive ends in football, as he has totaled 24.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and 14 pass deflections.

His best season came in 2013, as he totaled a career-high 10.5 sacks.

J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans recently set the bar for defensive ends with his contract. Wilkerson isn’t looking for money exactly the same as Watt received, but it is in the ball park.

Most signs point to the Jets still wanting Wilkerson on the team despite drafting Williams. If things don’t work out with Wilkerson however, having the sixth-overall pick in the draft as a replacement is a good thing.

If Wilkerson is on the team in 2015 and beyond, they have the makings of an even more dominant defensive line. New head coach Todd Bowles is going to have a ton a flexibility when it comes to rotations on his defensive line. Bowles is also known as a coach who like to blitz, but with this defensive line, that may not be necessary often.

“You can never have enough D-linemen,” Bowles said to Costello. “I’ve had a bunch of D-linemen in Dallas when I was there too, so having a lot of good football players doesn’t matter. I think everyone on the D-line has to learn how to play across the board in our scheme anyway, so having him added to the mix just makes us better.”

The Jets still have options when it comes to Wilkerson, as if a deal isn’t reached this summer, they can always use the franchise-tag on him next season. The Jets’ defense is going to be great in 2015, but having Wilkerson, who is already proven as a great defensive end in the NFL is important.

It’s been a great offseason for the Jets, and now most of the attention will go to how Mike Maccagnan handles the Wilkerson contract situation.

Next: Who is the best first-round pick in Jets history?

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