New York Jets: 5 Reasons They Could Miss Postseason

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Wilkerson’s Contract Situation

Sep 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) reacts after the Detroit Lions scored a touchdown at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2015 season, Muhammad Wilkerson has not hid his desire to receive a new long term contract from the Jets. Wilkerson has quickly become one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL, and is looking to get paid like it. But, the Jets are not interested in doing anything like that until they have to, and are willing to let Wilkerson play out his contract. Is this something that could impact Wilkerson’s production on the field?

In 61 career games, Wilkerson has compiled 24.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles to go with one interception and 145 tackles. Those numbers, combined with the ones of his defensive linemate Sheldon Richardson, have given the Jets one of the most dominant defensive fronts in the NFL as both players are among the best at their positions in the sport.

The Jets added to the embarrassment of riches they possess when they drafted USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams with the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. That selection not only gives them a potential third dominant offensive lineman, but insurance for Wilkerson. Williams gives the Jets another option in case Wilkerson decides to hold out, or for whatever reason declines in his production.

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If Wilkerson is to receive the long term contract that he desires from the Jets, he will have to continue producing at a high level. Some people have pointed out that Wilkerson is not in as good of shape as some of the other 3-4 defensive lineman, and sometimes looks to take plays off. Could this be something the Jets have seen as well, which could have prompted them to select Williams despite having so many strong options along the defensive line already?

There were rumors that the Jets were shopping Wilkerson this offseason, and with Williams now in the fold, those are rumors that should persist through the trade deadline. Will the issue with his contract affect his play on the field? It is something we will have to wait and see to find out. For how talented Williams is, it is unfair to expect him to produce as well as Wilkerson does right out of the gate, and Wilkerson being off his game for whatever reason could be tough for the Jets to overcome.

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