For the New York Jets, mandatory mini-camp is on the horizon and Muhammad Wilkerson has yet to sign a contract extension. This situation could turn into a major distraction for the Jets as they prepare for the 2016-2017 season.
For years now, the New York Jets have been trying to come to a contract extension agreement with twenty-six-year old defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. They have had no luck in doing so, and the clock is ticking for a new deal to be agreed upon.
Earlier this offseason, the Jets placed their franchise tag on Wilkerson, meaning that the two sides have less than a year before the Pro-Bowl defensive lineman hits free agency. The team will have to make a vital decision as to whether they should go all in to keep Wilkerson on the roster long-term.
Back in 2010, the Jets dealt with a very similar situation, when cornerback Darrelle Revis was holding out of offseason activities until he reached a contract agreement with the team during the later stages of the summer. The current situation with Wilkerson has the potential to be similar to that of Revis in 2010, which is not great news for anybody at this point.
It’s never a good thing to have all of the attention taken away from the team in favor of an off-field dispute regarding a contract. The locker room can become divided, and the team can become distracted from the main task of being prepared to have a winning season.
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All of these factors became evident during Revis’ holdout in 2010, and it seemed to be very harmful to the team’s chemistry.
It is certainly a predicament that no team would ever want to find themselves in.
Another factor that team’s have to worry about during instances like this is the way that the organization is portrayed throughout the process.
The Ryan Fitzpatrick contract situation for the Jets is a good example of this as both sides have been accused of being greedy, selfish and closed-minded.
New York does not need another dose of negative media publicity as they already have had plenty with last season’s starting quarterback.
The Jets will need to make sure that they can limit the amount of negative attention that is drawn to them over the course of Wilkerson’s holdout, and the rest of his tenure with Gang Green. It is harmful to everybody involved when too much negative publicity is drawn, and things start to become chaotic.
In conclusion, the Jets really need to treat this situation with Wilkerson very delicately, and they desperately need to try to find a way to resolve the problem. If they can’t, things could get very ugly, and training camp could end up being a very distracting and difficult time for the whole organization.