The New York Jets face some interesting decisions to make before the start of the regular season. It’s hard these days to find such a star defensive end that not only brings a keen defensive presence to the field every time they step onto it but doesn’t bring any distractions to the team. Muhammad Wilkerson is currently on a holdout from voluntary team workouts since he’s anxiously awaiting the Jets to give him a much-deserved contract extension so he can return to work knowing exactly how the team feels about him.
Rumors of trade talks are swirling since based on what ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini wrote, at least two other teams are seriously inquiring about what it would take to trade for Wilkerson. With just five playing seasons under his belt, some of his prime football years are still ahead of him as the Jets need to absolutely keep him around.
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It might be enticing for the Jets to entertain trading away one of their top defensive performers but it isn’t truly the answer. Thanks to a new regime in head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan, the Jets have pulled off one of the best offseasons in recent time.
They addressed a major need by completely revamping their defensive secondary, added a legitimate offensive threat in wide receiver Brandon Marshall plus bolstered their rushing attack with Zac Stacy. They even added two quarterbacks into the mix in Ryan Fitzpatrick and Bryce Petty to have more options at the position.
Maccagnan led the Jets into the 2015 NFL Draft and landed the top defensive player hands down at the No. 6 overall pick with Leonard Williams. They even added another top-notch wide receiver in Devin Smith to really push the envelope come next season and beyond.
What is left for Maccagnan and company to do? They need to do what is right and give Wilkerson a terrific vote of confidence with a long-term contract showing him that he is indeed part of their future plans. The Jets should be a contending team next season and beyond but they must ensure Wilkerson will be around to continue being an anchor on their defensive line.
Trading him isn’t the answer to get some other pieces of the puzzle or future draft picks. The Jets are significantly better heading into next season and should be able to work their way to the top of the AFC East. It won’t happen for long though unless Wilkerson is there holding down the fort for years to come.