Don’t get used to saying “New York Jets defensive end” before Muhammad Wilkerson’s name.
The oft-troubled veteran pass rusher’s time in New York is drawing to a close as he continues to misrepresent a hard-working team that has exceeded expectation for most of 2017.
A source told the New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta that Wilkerson is “gone” after this season despite having three years and almost $50 million left on his five-year, $86 million deal signed prior to the 2016 season.
To put it plainly, Wilkerson has not lived up to such an exorbitant deal.
Drafted 30th overall by the Jets in 2011, Wilkerson showed flashes of becoming a dominant rusher off the edge but was unable to consistently produce. After putting up a combined eight sacks in his first two years in the league, Wilkerson put up 10.5 in 2013 but followed it up with just six the following season.
In 2015, he put together his finest season with 12 sacks and three forced fumbles, prompting the Jets to shell out a sizable deal for Wilkerson.
He’s combined for just seven sacks in the 27 games since.
Granted, he was contending with an ankle injury that required surgery prior to the 2016 season. But he didn’t necessarily make any friends while trying to explain that, blaming the Jets training staff for botching his recovery to a point in which the ankle bothered him for most of the year.
You just don’t do that.
The 28-year-old has also been benched three times in the past three years for not being on time and has remained defiant with fans and the New York media. This all obviously doesn’t correspond with his comments over the summer saying that he was one of the leaders of this team.
The Jets have a chance to cut Wilkerson in early March before the $16.75 million he’s owed in 2018 becomes guaranteed.