For the New York Jets, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson is a quiet individual. He prefers to make statements on the field rather than off the field, but now he has a lot to say.
Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was a former first-round selection by the New York Jets during the 2011 NFL Draft. Since his rookie season, Wilkerson has emerged as one of the leagues most dominant and consistent defensive ends in the NFL. He’s also seen a total of three general managers (Mike Tannenbaum, John Idzik, Mike Maccagnan) during his professional career, whom have talked to him about a contract extension for the future.
The frustration is building up for Wilkerson. What more does he have to do is the same very question all of the fan base of the Jets has been asking Maccagnan. While Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles have both expressed their desire to maintain Wilkerson long-term, their actions speak much differently. Here’s what Wilkerson said about it in an article written by Brian Costello of the New York Post:
“Do I feel that they want me back? As of right now, no. I don’t feel like they want me,” Wilkerson said in his first public comments since last season. “I’m a talented guy. Everybody knows that. I feel like they’re going to get the best they can out of me and just let me go. That’s how I feel. Do I like that feeling? No. I’m a New Jersey guy, born and raised and would love to raise my family here.”
Unfortunately, a long-term contract with the Jets and Wilkerson seems highly unlikely as of right now. So what exactly got under the skin of Big Mo and forced him out of the shadows to finally break his silence? Well, the biggest news so far this summer with the huge contract extension given to defensive end Fletcher Cox.
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Recently, the Philadelphia Eagles extended the contract of Cox to a six-year deal worth $103M with $63M guaranteed.
If Wilkerson agrees to play under the $15.7M franchise tag, his total earnings over the past two seasons would accumulate to $22.7M which is less than Cox’s signing bonus alone of $2M.
With Cox, a highly talented defensive player receiving a large extension, one better believe Wilkerson will now start his asking price around the deal he received.
In that same NYPost.com article written by Costello, here is what Wilkerson said about his thoughts on Cox’s new contract:
“I think he’s a great player. Do I feel like I’m better than him? Yes.” “Not to be cocky, it’s just a confidence thing. Everybody in the league that plays feels like they’re the best player at their position. If you ask any NFL player, they’re going to say they’re the best at their position. I feel like I’m better than him and whatever [his deal is] I deserve that or better.”
The reality of a secure long-term commitment between the Jets and Wilkerson seems like a far cry as time goes by. With the deadline approaching soon, Wilkerson still says that there is still time to work out a deal as he still wishes to stay with the Jets despite his contract stalemate. Wilkerson is expected to be on the field come Week 1 of the regular season against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Despite his feelings about this current contract situation, once Week 1 approaches, he’ll put business aside and play like he always has. That’s the kind of player he’s always been as the Jets would be wise to finally take care of him once and for all.