NY Jets: Team should trade Muhammad Wilkerson

Dec 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is sacked by New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is sacked by New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

With the NY Jets having to make some key choices this off-season, perhaps pulling off a big trade with one of their defensive superstars could put them in a better position come next season.

General manager Mike Maccagnan will have tough decisions to make this off-season in who he would like to come back to the team. Many of the players who are free agents were part of their big success in 2015. Only time will tell in how the organization handles the situation because it will be very difficult in letting some of the players go. One player I think they should let go is defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson who has been the heart and soul of the team on and off the field.

He has done so much f0r this franchise in helping it become a winning franchise again. It will be hard to get him to sign at low price because of the contracts players got from other teams at his position. They should try to do a sign and trade with another team to maybe get a package deal including picks in this years draft, and a player or two who has NFL starting talent. They shouldn’t have to spend their money on just one player they need to look into investing the money elsewhere across the team.

It will be hard to let him go because he has outperformed his current $7 million contract by having an incredible season in 2015. He had incredible stats this year as he totaled 64 tackles, 12.0 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. These numbers are what franchises look for in a premier defensive end. The only problem is how productive and effective will he be next season as he recovers from a broken leg?

He suffered the injury in the last game of the year against divisional rivals the Buffalo Bills. After these past few off-seasons, Wilkerson will want contracts like the ones J.J.Watt and Ndamukong Suh received in the range of $50+ million.

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The Jets already have two young and improving defensive end players in Leonard Williams and Sheldon Richardson who are still under contract these next few seasons. There is no reason why these two players can’t continue to improve and become the future of the defensive line.

Keep in mind, they’re also cheaper financially because they are still under their rookie contracts. The Jets already have high priced players on the defensive side of the ball since the area they should invest the money is their offensive.

With needs on their offensive line, wide receiver and at running back, it’s unrealistic to believe the Jets will bring all their free agents back and be able to retain their high-priced players eligible for free agency. The Jets should not actually use the franchise tag on Wilkerson because it will cost them $15 million which isn’t good for the team or the player.

Sure, he’ll be retained for one more season but one better believe he’s as good as gone in 2017 since he’ll feel disrespected he couldn’t get the long-term contract he’s been seeking for the past few years now. It’s a shame too since he’s been such a great player on and off the field but unfortunately, this is a business. Emotions aside, it makes business sense for the Jets to get as much as they can by trading Wilkerson to address other major needs on the team since their defensive line should be just fine without him.

They should look into signing nose tackle Damon Harrison who was a force these past two seasons with the Jets that they can’t afford to loose. Harrison was someone who the Jets took a chance on and he hasn’t let them down as he has been a big part of them being the best run stopping team in the league.

If they could work a sign and trade deal and get draft picks for this year’s draft, then it will benefit them because they will be able to find someone who has the capability of being the next version of him at a much better price. Two players that can take the place of Wilkerson in this year’s draft are Carl Nassib out of Penn State and Shaq Lawson out of Clemson University. These players have the size and power that the could make the Jets powerful in the front line of defense.

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) is helped off the field as head coach Todd Bowles looks on during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

I think coming off a broken leg injury will make him play very careful because he doesn’t want to deal with that same injury again. Those injuries are difficult to come back from because of how much pressure is put on the leg. It is also used for the player to explode off the ball and make cuts to get past offensive lineman. They are constantly in the middle of piles because they are in pursuit of the football, and they want to try to make a play on the football.

It will take time for him to adjust to playing on that leg because he wouldn’t want to rush back onto the field and something happens to it again which would hurt his career even more. I think if they were to take a chance on him by franchise tagging him to see how he reacts post-injury, it’ll give them one last chance to think about keeping him around for the long-term.

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Head coach Todd Bowles would love to have him back on the team but he knows this is a business and it would be difficult to bring him back. General manager Mike Maccagnan needs to invest in the future of the team and not blow the bank on one player, especially coming off such a serious injury.

The only way he would be brought back is if they get him for the right price which is impossible due to the amount of money he’ll be asking for. That’s why to satisfy both sides, perhaps a sign and trade addresses the needs of both the Jets and a team that is willing to give him whatever he wants financially.