FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Muhammad Wilkerson might be traded by the New York Jets, or he might not, so goes the narrative of the silly season just days away from the NFL Draft.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter turned the franchise upside down when he reported on Tuesday morning that the Jets were receiving calls for Wilkerson, the All-Pro defensive end and the team’s first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Wilkerson is one of the team’s bright young stars, a dominant defensive end who is in his fifth and final year on his original contract.
Schefter reported that two teams have reached out to the Jets about trading for Wilkerson and that “More calls from teams are expected as Thursday night’s draft gets underway.” Wilkerson is currently not with the Jets for voluntary veteran’s minicamp, which began on Tuesday.
“At least two teams, possibly more, have approached NY Jets about trading for Muhammad Wilkerson, per league source. Bares watching Thursday,” Schefter’s Tweet read.
It should be noted that Schefter’s tweet and subsequent story did not say that the Jets are openly shopping Wilkerson or that they have initiated any of the trade talks. A move however could make sense.
With the development of Sheldon Richardson, the Jets have an embarrassment of riches along the defensive line and with Wilkerson wanting a pay raise, money could be better spent elsewhere. Wilkerson has value on the trade market and Richardson is younger and cheaper with a bigger upside.
If the Jets can acquire a first round pick for Wilkerson or multiple draft picks, they could very easily draft a suitable replacement for Wilkerson who would come at a lower salary cap hit.
In addition, it would be expected that Wilkerson would draw trade interest. He’s currently not at the voluntary minicamp and hasn’t attended any of the offseason workouts. This would be a signal around the league that the Jets could possibly be interested in a deal to recoup some value for one of their biggest assets.
But as of right now, it is teams calling the Jets looking for a deal and not vice-versa.