Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets defensive endMuhammad Wilkerson
(96) laughs on the sideline during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
There is much work for the Jets this off-season. The Jets have a roster with many holes. Whomever the general manager turns out to be, inherits a roster with an offense that was ranked 28th out of 32. The defense was again in the top ten, but couldn’t stop the pass when necessary. The roster was not equipped with the necessary tools by the previous general manager. The general manager will have their work cut out for them.
Besides the NFL draft, which we all know is going to be huge, decisions have to be made about the existing roster as well. Guys like Chris Ivory and Demario Davis, among others, are going into the final years of their respective contracts. But so is one other guy, and he must be the top priority.
His name is Muhammad Wilkerson.
Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Muhammad Wilkerson is only 25 years old. He is getting better, and the best is yet to come for him.
After a modest rookie year with only three sacks, Wilkerson only got better the next year with five. He really “got it” during the second half of 2012, posting four of his five total sacks. But the best was yet to come.
In 2013, Muhammad Wilkerson was nearly as good as J.J Watt, posting a career best 10.5 sacks, to go along with 63 tackles (43 solo), three passes defended and an interception. Unfortunately, Wilkerson was snubbed for the Pro Bowl.
Despite missing four game in 2013 due to turf toe, Wilkerson posted another strong campaign, with six sacks, 56 tackles (31 solo), and five passes defended.
Muhammad Wilkerson is a beast. He is great, and only getting better.
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
Muhammad Wilkerson is in the last year of his contract. If anyone has ever deserved a new deal, Wilkerson deserves one.
Wilkerson is making $6,969,000 in 2015, all guaranteed. His average per year, from our friends at Over the Cap has been only $1,718,750. By comparison, J.J Watt, has over $21,000,000 coming this year.
I am not saying that Wilkerson is not J.J. Watt, yet, but this is quite the disparity. Muhammad Wilkerson has clearly out played a contract that has paid him under $2,000,000.
He is well deserving of said contract.
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan in the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
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Rex Ryan is in high demand, taking several interviews after being dismissed by the New York Jets. He shouldn’t be out of work long, with reports saying he had a great meeting with Atlanta, and could likely end up down there.
The Jets players love their former head coach, and Muhammad Wilkerson is no different. If he is given the chance to test free agency at the end of next season, would it be the first time that a player followed his former coach? I know I will be a bit sick to the stomach if I saw Muhammad Wilkerson down in Atlanta with a Falcons logo on the side of his head. Wouldn’t you?
Rod Graves can get it done. The new general manager can get it done. It doesn’t matter. Get Muhammad Wilkerson signed to a nice contract, and secure him for a long time.
The Jets may regret it if they don’t.