For the New York Jets and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, contract negotiations continue year after year with no progress made. There are reasons to suspect that they will never come to terms.
From my wholehearted endorsement of Ryan Fitzpatrick, to my criticisms of Geno Smith and the coaching staff of the New York Jets, I’m sure I haven’t made many friends among our readers here at The Jet Press.
On the off chance there’s any readers that don’t hate me yet, keep reading. Or better yet, don’t hate me. Instead hate the Philadelphia Eagles.
What could the Eagles possibly have to do with the Jets? Quite a bit actually. By engaging in a massive offseason spending spree that would generously be described as risky, the Eagles have raised the asking price of multiple Jets players.
Fitzpatrick’s continued contract stalemate with the Jets is fueled, in part, by the Eagles’ decision to overpay for quarterbacks Chase Daniel (3 years/ $21M) and Sam Bradford (2 years/$35M). As if that’s not bad enough, the Eagles have re-signed defensive lineman Fletcher Cox to a bloated 6 years/$103M contract.
In addition to offering an annual average of over $17M, the contract also provides the largest amount of money ever guaranteed to a non-quarterback ($63M). Who is Cox? Is he worth the money? How good is he?
One thing is for certain. Cox is not as good as Jets’ defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson.
Take a look at the statistics below:
What player would you prefer? Both players are impact defensive linemen in their primes, but Player A is clearly a more dynamic pass rusher.
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Here’s the bad news, Jets fans. Player A is Wilkerson; Player B is Cox.
If Cox is worth over $17M a year with over $60Min guarantees, one can only guess how much money Wilkerson will request.
Jets’ general manager Mike Maccagnan has been unable to sign Wilkerson to a long term contract, forcing the team to use the franchise tag.
Despite their salary cap woes, the Jets could manage to sign Wilkerson to a massive long-term contact if they wanted to. After all, the cost to franchise tag Wilkerson in 2016 is $15.7M.
However, its clear that Maccagnan is reluctant to give Wilkerson $15, $18, maybe even $20M per year over a long-term contract. With Wilkerson’s value skyrocketing and Maccagnan expressing no willingness to budge in contract negotiations, Jets fans shouldn’t expect this situation to be resolved anytime soon.
Throw in recent reports by ESPN’s Rich Cimini about Wilkerson potentially holding out for all of training camp, and it’s beginning to look more and more likely that 2016 will be Wilkerson’s last year in the green and white.
Overall, expect the Jets to either trade him or for Wilkerson to walk as a free agent at the end of the 2016 season. Agree? Disagree? As always, let’s continue the conversation in the comments below.